API’s understatement of RFS belies attempts to weaken program

By Renewable Fuels Association | March 03, 2016

In an interview with POLITICO Pro Energy’s Morning Energy, American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard stipulated that his organization was pivoting its strategy toward reforming the renewable fuel standard (RFS) rather than continuing to call for an outright repeal. Faced with obstacles in rolling back the program, API’s new approach would seemingly contradict its longstanding argument that the ethanol industry no longer carries significant political influence in Iowa and similar ethanol-producing states. This morning, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen responded to Gerard’s comments:

“API claims they are winning and that the RFS no longer holds the political currency it once did. So why are they then changing course? The reason for the change in approach is that API’s narrative on the RFS is a fiction and Jack Gerard knows it. API can’t continue to support repeal of the RFS because Americans want fuel choice, they want to reduce our dependence on petroleum, they want to address global climate change, they want the evolution of our transportation fuel system to continue. They want the RFS. API knows repeal of the RFS will never happen so they need to change course. That’s not winning. That’s recognizing that you have lost.

“But their ‘reform’ will be equally bankrupt. They will attempt to eviscerate a program they despise because it has robbed them of their monopoly and name it reform. Eliminating the corn ethanol part of the RFS, for example, would render the RFS a toothless tiger. More than 90 percent of the RFS is currently met by corn ethanol, so they would get their monopoly back. That would just tighten oil supplies and raise consumer gasoline costs. More importantly, without corn ethanol, the foundation for next-generation biofuels would be eliminated and the tremendous progress we have made toward cleaner, lower carbon fuels would be lost. That’s not reform. That’s capitulation to an overly entitled oil industry that simply does not share America’s desire to see cost-competitive low-carbon fuels in the marketplace.

“It galls Jack Gerard and the API that support for ethanol and the RFS remains strong among consumers and the Congress despite all the money they have thrown at creating their false narrative. Their acknowledgement today that they need to change course is a white flag. They’ve given up. But beware their next move. It too will not be in the best interests of consumers or American energy and environmental policy.”