With Congress heading home in May for local meetings, the National Corn Growers Association says it's a perfect time to remind lawmakers why the Renewable Fuel Standard is important to all Americans - especially the price consumers pay at the pump.
Says Garry Niemeyer, NCGA president: "Corn ethanol plays a pivotal role in America's fight to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Not only does it help diversify America's fuel supply but it also fosters a more vibrant economy. Recently, ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by $0.89 per gallon, saving the average American household $800."
In a press statement, NCGA points out that the Energy Independence and Security Act became law in 2007. Included in the bill was an expanded Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into the nation's fuel supply by 2022. There is also an allowance for 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol by 2015. The act builds on the progress made by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, the first comprehensive energy legislation the nation has seen in more than a decade.
Ethanol producers and corn growers receive greater market certainty with the establishment of the expanded RFS. The RFS advances the use of domestically produced renewable fuels, encourages new technologies, brings much needed jobs to rural America and enhances U.S. energy independence. A broad coalition of stakeholders, including ethanol and agricultural organizations, environmentalists, oil companies and state air officials, supported the bill.
There are concerns that Congress may roll back the RFS, or trim ethanol supply needs, but with the savings per gallon the fuel already provides, consumers may be in for a shock at the pump beyond one that OPEC can deliver.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working on promotion of an E15 blend of ethanol for use in later model cars. While some car makers are sending mixed signals about the idea, a group of ethanol companies is working to survey the market on the perceived benefits of the fuel. The RFS has value, even without the 10-cent per gallon blender tax break, and ethanol producers are working to tell that story.