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Fuel Debate 'Not Just About Food Vs Fuel'

12 April 2013

US - Introducing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act to help ease concerns created by the ethanol mandate and protect consumers, Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) said the RFS debate is 'not just a debate about fuel or food.'

Congressman Crawford said: It is a debate about jobs, small business, and economic growth. The federal government’s creation of an artificial market for the corn-based ethanol industry has quite frankly triggered a domino effect that is hurting American consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, food manufacturers, and retailers. The broad coalition of organisations supporting this legislation echo the same sentiment: the RFS is not working.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be part of America's fuel supply by 2022.

Almost all of this is currently being fulfilled by corn ethanol. In 2011, five billion bushels of the corn supply was used for ethanol – equal to nearly 40 per cent of the US corn crop. While the RFS is causing food prices to go up, some claim the RFS has not provided relief for consumers at the pump.

In fact, citing the RFS, the EPA is setting the target for refiners to blend cellulosic biofuels into gasoline higher than the amount of cellulosic biofuels that exists. When these non-existent fuels cannot be blended refiners are 'financially penalised', which ultimately gets passed on to consumers at the pump.

“The RFS Reform Act will eliminate corn-based ethanol requirements, cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10 per cent, and require the EPA to set cellulosic biofuels levels at production levels. Renewable fuels play an important role in our energy policy but should compete fairly in the marketplace. This legislation will bring the fundamental reform this unworkable federal policy needs now.”

The RFS Reform Act is supported by a diverse group of more than 40 organisations, including ActionAid USA, the American Frozen Food Institute, the American Meat Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Environmental Working Group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Milk Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Turkey Federation, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, and Taxpayers for Commonsense.

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