Setting The Record Straight On Renewable Fuels

Source: Office of Senator Chuck Grassley • Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021

Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa


Many bills that get introduced in the Senate won’t go anywhere. They are simply messaging documents.

I usually do not care to comment on these bills. It simply isn’t worth my time.

But when I see the combination of false information spread in messaging bills that could negatively impact my state, I must set the record straight.

Several colleagues just introduced a bill to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

I’ve been a proud advocate for renewable energy. Iowa is a leader in both wind and renewable fuels.

When it comes to the RFS, it is hard to argue there has ever been a more successful clean fuels policy implemented across the world.

Between 2008 and 2020, the use of biofuels under the RFS resulted in a savings of 980 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

That’s the equivalent to removing over 200 million cars from the road for one year.

The RFS makes gasoline more affordable, generates good-paying jobs, reduces oil imports and reduces our country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The messaging coming from the bill rehashes the same talking points about ethanol that Big Oil has trotted out for the past decades.

Of course, Big Oil’s talking points have been completely debunked by the latest science and the non-partisan research from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

My pro-oil colleagues say that the RFS causes food and feed prices to rise.

However, in 2014, the CBO looked at the impact on food prices if the RFS was fully repealed.

The CBO concluded that American food prices would be just one quarter of one percent higher if the RFS was kept in place versus total repeal.

Out of a $100 grocery bill, the impact is no more than a quarter.

But when you consider that there is a savings of $5 every time you fill up at the gas station due to the RFS, consumers save money overall with the RFS in place.

My colleagues also claimed, falsely, that corn ethanol achieves little to no reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

This might be the most ridiculous assertion.

I’d like to invite my colleagues to visit Iowa to see just how far ethanol has come in emission reductions.

The most recent research from Harvard shows that corn ethanol’s greenhouse gas emissions are 46 percent lower than gasoline.

Research by USDA found the reduction in CO2 could reach 71 percent by next year if farmers follow best practices.

At a time when our nation is working to reduce fossil fuel consumption and protect our environment, why would my colleagues introduce a bill that would increase our dependence on foreign oil and increase greenhouse gas emissions?

Renewable fuels like ethanol have a forty-year track record of making fuel more affordable and vehicles more efficient.

To limit this consumer choice at the pump is completely irresponsible.

Attempts to limit consumer choice, which are driven by Big Oil interests, must be defeated.

The United States should continue to build on the progress of the RFS and bring policy to the table that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and brings jobs to rural America.