Friday RFS Roundup – 5/30

May 30, 2014

This week, we recognized World Hunger Day and the effects the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is having on hunger domestically and abroad. From food price shocks and inflation to heightened costs on consumers and food assistance programs, this broken policy proves to be a failure around the world. But its effects aren’t just confined to food supply and global hunger, see below for more from this week:

Environmental Working Group, Ethanol’s Broken Promise: In a new analysis released by the Environmental Working Group, we learned that the EPA’s proposal to cut the mandated levels of corn ethanol in our fuel supply would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as taking 580,000 cars and trucks off the road. The analysis points out that the land use changes caused by ethanol production results in mass emissions of greenhouse gases, which past studies did not account for in their research methods. 

In Short: “It turns out that corn ethanol has actually accelerated global warming more than gasoline. Recent research by the EPA has estimated that ethanol production increases greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent, compared to gasoline.”

The American Interest, America’s Biofuel Boondoggle in One Simple Graph: As is evident in our animated GIF, this article details the discrepancy between true ethanol consumption and government mandated ethanol in our fuel supply. Since 2007, Americans’ driving habits have significantly decreased, which has led to decreased gasoline consumption. You would think that as gasoline consumption decreases, so too would ethanol consumption…

In Short: “That, by itself, is a clear demonstration of a failed policy, but it gets worse. The ethanol we’re producing—primarily derived from corn—fails virtually every metric a biofuel could hope to pass: It doesn’t reduce emissions, it wreaks havoc on landscapes, and it raises global food prices, starving the world’s poor. That our mandates so far exceed our production capabilities are just the cherry on top of this sundae of failure.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Put a Cap on Ethanol to Benefit People, Environment: Environmental influencer, Ron O’Connor encourages readers to contact their congressional delegation to put an end to our outdated and destructive ethanol mandates. Already debunked as a “green” fuel by the scientific community, our environment has become a victim to fuel “that hardly deserves the title ‘renewable.’”

In Short: “But a year-to-year revision will do little to stave off the long-term environmental impacts of increased ethanol production. Fortunately, I was also able to meet with several members of our bistate congressional delegation, calling on them to address this policy boondoggle to better protect our environment and our natural resources for the generations to come.”