Comment: Ethanol use is not a mandate

Source: By Doug Durante, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2015

As presidential politics begin to encroach on the ethanol debate, everyone is better served to be dealing with facts. The Register, of all places, should know what the Renewable Fuel Standard is. It is a requirement for oil companies and others to make sure that some small portion of the products they sell be comprised of renewables. It is not, as the Register stated in the recent Ted Cruz article, “the federal mandate for blending corn-based ethanol into gasoline fuels” [“Iowa caucus campaign wouldn’t diminish opposition to RFS,” Jan. 23] There is no mandate to use corn ethanol, or any ethanol at all for that matter. There is a range of renewable feedstocks and products of which ethanol is just one. If the obligated parties do not like or do not want to use ethanol they can generate renewable electricity, produce biogas, use biodiesel, make other alcohols, or choose other options. But it bears repeating that no one is required to use ethanol. The oil companies choose it because it is the most efficient and effective way for them to comply with the law. For any of these candidates that oppose renewables, then that can only mean they support fossil fuels and continued dependence on oil.

Douglas Durante is Executive Director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition