The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Bringing Consumer Focus to RFS Debate

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted August 9, 2016

With the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) likely to be the focus of renewed congressional debate, API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola briefed reporters on two new online ads designed to highlight serious concerns with the RFS that argue for the program’s repeal or major reform. Here are Macchiarola’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thanks to an energy renaissance here in the United States, Americans driving to their summer destinations have been enjoying low prices at the pump. To keep this progress going, we need to end harmful policies that could raise the cost of energy and negatively impact millions of vehicles on the road.

As the EPA works to finalize its 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard volumes, API is launching a new multi-faceted advocacy campaign that will include TV and online advertising. Our campaign will focus on how higher ethanol mandates can hurt consumers, potentially raise costs and possibly void automobile warranties.

We are urging policymakers to put the interest of the American consumer first. A recent poll showed that 77 percent of registered voters are concerned about government requiring increased amounts of ethanol in gasoline, and 73 percent agree that federal regulations could contribute to increased costs at the pump.  The broken RFS mandate aims to force consumers to use high ethanol blends they don’t want and don’t need.

ethanol

Nearly 90 percent of vehicles on the road today were not designed for higher ethanol blends, such as E15.  And many automakers say that using E15 could potentially void new car warranties. These higher ethanol blends threaten engines and fuel systems – potentially forcing drivers to pay for costly repairs, according to extensive testing done by the auto and oil and natural gas industries.

The ethanol mandate could also impact the prices that Americans pay at the pump. The Congressional Budget Office found that forcing ethanol consumption to statutory levels, mainly by using higher ethanol blends like E85, could cost consumers an additional 26 cents per gallon at the pump.

API is urging policymakers to put consumers first. It is time to fix the RFS. In the near term, ethanol levels should be set at no more than 9.7 percent of the fuel supply, to protect consumers – while ensuring ethanol-free gasoline remains available to the consumers who want it. Owners of small engines like lawnmowers, boaters, and classic car owners often prefer to use ethanol-free gasoline. API has joined a chorus of voices sounding the alarm on the potential problems created by the burdensome ethanol mandate. From recreational boaters and motorcyclists to environmental groups and food groups, an ever-increasing number of Americans are saying “No More” to the ethanol mandate.

There is bipartisan agreement that this program is a failure. We are pleased at the support that the Flores-Welch RFS reform bill is getting in Congress, with a wide-range of bipartisan co-sponsors now exceeding 100 members of the House. With these new ads, we are reaching out directly to the American people and our allies to step up the call for Congress to act.

Fixing the broken RFS is part of embracing our status as an energy super power. We are the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas and we are leading the world in reducing carbon and other emissions. With that in mind, we need to do everything we can to help consumers benefit from this energy renaissance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sabrina Fang is an API media relations representative. Before joining API she worked for the Washington Humane Society and was a reporter for Tribune Broadcasting and covered the White House for seven years. Fang studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University before starting her career. She enjoys reading, watching movies and spending time with family.