RFA: Survey finds strong opposition to SREs, support for RFS

By Renewable Fuels Association | October 03, 2019

Registered voters oppose the Trump administration’s actions to exempt oil refineries from renewable fuel blending obligations by a margin of nearly two to one, according to new polling data released today by the Renewable Fuels Association. The nationwide survey, by Morning Consult, also found strong support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard. In fact, support for the Renewable Fuel Standard reached its highest level since RFA began polling on RFS support in 2016.

“The massive increase in secretive small refiner waivers has been all over the news recently and we wanted to find out how registered voters really feel about the EPA giving highly profitable oil companies a free pass to ignore their Clean Air Act obligations,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of voters with an opinion on the issue opposed the small refinery exemptions. At the same time, public support for the RFS reached its highest rate since we began polling on the issue more than three years ago. As the White House and EPA move to finalize a relief package to mitigate the negative impact of these refinery waivers on rural America, we hope they take this information into account. It’s time for EPA to follow the law and implement the RFS as intended by Congress.”

The survey of nearly 2,000 voters found opposition to the refinery waivers, with 55 percent of respondents opposed compared to 29 percent supporting and 17 percent having no opinion.

When it comes to ethanol, the survey found 64 percent of voters have a favorable view, with support reflected across all key demographics, regardless of gender, location and political party. Support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, at 62 percent, represented an increase of six percentage points from May 2018 and was the highest since RFA began regular polling with Morning Consult on the rate of support for the RFS in 2016. The percentage of respondents indicating “strong support” for the RFS also hit its highest level since RFA started polling. Only 13 percent of respondents opposed the RFS, the lowest rate since polling began on RFS support.

The top reasons cited for a favorable opinion for ethanol are the environmental benefits of ethanol, the fact that renewable fuels are domestically produced, and that they offer consumers an affordable choice at the pump.

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult for RFA between Sept. 26-28, among a national sample of 1,998 registered voters. The interviews were collected online and the data weighted to represent a target sample of voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, education attainment and region; results have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.