Ethanol fueling economic growth

Source: By Bob Dinneen, The Hill • Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2016

The National Council of Chain Restaurants has once again trotted out the same tired misinformation to support its claims that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a failure (“Senate hearing should be start of RFS repeal,” March 4, The Hill’s Congress Blog). The group is entitled to its own opinion, but not its own facts. Conventional ethanol has grown to nearly 15 billion gallons per year, displacing 527 million barrels of gasoline in 2015 that were worth almost $26 billion. That is not a failure in my book.

Farmers harvested the third-largest corn crop in 2015, 13.6 billion bushels. All the while, food price inflation continues its downward trend, and consumers are spending a smaller portion of their income on food today than before. Between 1980 and 2004, food prices increased by an average of 3.5 percent per year; in contrast, food prices have risen by an average of just 2.7 percent per year since 2005, the year RFS was adopted. In fact, only 17 cents for every dollar spent on food pays for the raw farm ingredients. The other 83 cents pays for processing, transportation and other costs.

While consumers aren’t paying more for their food because of ethanol, they’re also saving money at the pump by using the renewable fuel.

The RFS is not a “demonstrated failure.” It is, in fact, a resounding success. It’s high time the National Council of Chain Restaurants stopped misrepresenting the facts and started to acknowledge ethanol’s benefits to the economy, the environment and energy diversity.

From Bob Dinneen, president and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association, Washington, D.C.