Friday RFS Roundup – 5/23

May 23, 2014

Despite the ethanol industry’s most fervent efforts, there’s just no hiding the harmful effects of ethanol mandates. Even China is rejecting the development of biofuels due to concerns about diverting food to fuel. As we await the final 2014 ethanol mandate levels from the EPA, Congress must act on this broken policy. With summer driving right around the corner, consumers cannot afford the very real risk of hitting the ethanol blend wall – the point at which mandated levels of ethanol in gasoline could cause gas prices to spike dramatically.

More from this week:

Brownfield Ag News for America, US Sees Ethanol Export Potential to China: In a curious turn of events, China is shifting away from grain-based biofuels because of the controversial food vs. fuel debate. Additionally, China has rejected U.S. dried distiller grains (DDGs) because of concerns about animal nutrition. The take-a-way here: If China is having reservations about the value of ethanol, it’s well past time for the U.S. start having reservations about the value of ethanol.

In Short: “A USDA-led trade mission to northeast China turned up greater opportunities than expected for significant export potential of U.S.-produced ethanol.  National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says China is producing ethanol but recognizes the eventual need to import it because of growing fuel demands.  Johnson says, ‘They recognize that there is a limitation to how much they can produce. The food versus fuel debate I think is something they’re sensitive to there as well as sort of the GMO issue.”

Washington Examiner, Ethanol Industry Fights to Keep Costly Subsidy as Profits Soar: The ethanol industry is seeing a profit, and at what cost? The consumers who are forced to buy the industry’s product. With its current “success,” the ethanol lobby is fighting hard to keep the mandate as is and protect its own interest. How about dropping the mandate all together and allowing consumers a free choice?  

In Short: “Frustrating for the ethanol industry is that the EPA's recommendation came just as ethanol was hitting its stride in profitability…That's got to be frustrating. Just as you start capturing nearly 100 percent of the gain from a government policy forcing people to buy your product, the government threatens to force people to buy slightly less of your product!”

Providence Journal, End Ethanol Mandate: Have you ever counted the reasons why it’s time to end the ethanol mandate? Well, it’s time you do! From increased commodity prices and environmental damage to energy inefficiency and free market distortion, this broken policy is proving to be a governmental failure that continues to harm Americans across the nation. 

In Short: “Corn producers won’t like hearing this kernel of truth, but the ethanol-blend mandate has been ineffective, even counterproductive. It’s time to give it a rest.”

WSET, Ethanol – Help or Harm? Part 1 and Part 2: How does ethanol affect you, your engine and your wallet? In this two-part video series, we take a look at bottom line impacts of ethanol mandates and what this failing policy means for our farmers, our food and our environment. 

In Short: “Congressman Bob Goodlatte has been fighting almost tirelessly for years against ethanol mandates in gasoline. Goodlatte sat down with us to explain his side of the debate. ‘The federal government is picking winners and losers,’ said Goodlatte. Opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard, like Goodlatte, say the more corn being used for ethanol production the higher the costs for corn to be used as feed for animals, which means ultimately higher costs for food that we eat. ‘They're concerned about rising food prices and the effect that will have on people's buying habits,’ said Goodlatte. Goodlatte argues that the requirement to blend ethanol with gasoline can be blamed for the higher prices of meat at the grocery store. And for restaurants, he says those burgers could be costing more, too.”