The Hill: Take the RFS off the menu

June 27, 2013

Rob Green, June 26, 2013 — For nearly a decade, advocates of the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) have touted the benefits of using corn as a renewable fuel. They told us that burning corn as fuel would lower emissions, reduce imports and encourage the development and expansion of alternative/renewable fuels. However, federal policymakers failed to foresee the slew of unintended consequences that would result from the mandate. In fact, the federal RFS has been a spectacular policy failure. And this failure has hit small business owners and American families right in the wallet at a time they can least afford it. The RFS’ corn price spike has set off a multi-billion-dollar chain reaction throughout the U.S. economy that heaps additional food and commodity costs on farmers, food manufacturers, chain restaurants, food retailers and, ultimately, American consumers and families. Simply put, the RFS is costing Americans more to put food on the table, whether from a chain restaurant or a supermarket store.  

It is time for Congress to take the RFS off the menu by repealing this misguided law.

The RFS mandate creates an artificial use for corn which is the foundation of America’s food chain and creates a chain reaction which artificially and unfairly increases corn’s demand, which in turn substantially raises its price. Since enactment of the RFS in 2005, the price of a bushel of corn has risen 300 percent! Today, over 42 percent of the corn produced in the U.S. is now diverted from food and feed to make fuel, and the number continues to climb each and every year. That’s saying something when you consider that the U.S. is currently the world’s largest producer of corn.

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