RFA: Poll shows strong support for renewable fuels agenda

By Renewable Fuels Association | February 06, 2013

For the second year in a row, national polling presented today at the National Ethanol Conference proved Americans, by an overwhelming majority, support the key federal policy driving renewable fuel innovation in America today—the renewable fuel standard (RFS). In a poll commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association and conducted by American Viewpoint, 64 percent of adults polled said they supported the RFS, while just 25 percent are opposed.

“Clearly and demonstrably, Americans believe that the renewable fuel standard is an important federal policy that results in more energy independence, more job creation, and a cleaner environment. They see the value of the RFS in strengthening America, now and in the future,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “This polling tells us there is a widely held distaste for the billions in support that the oil industry receives from the federal government as well as a strong desire to move away from foreign oil. Americans want fuel choice at the pump and at the auto dealer. Investment in future biofuels made from a variety of non-traditional products like wood chips and grasses is of keen interest to them.”

The poll was commissioned by RFA and conducted by American Viewpoint. The poll was conducted via telephone Jan.24-28, 2013 with a sample size of 1,000 adults. Margin of error in the poll is +/- 3.1 percent. Approximately 30 percent of respondents were contacted by cell phone.

In presenting these findings, Linda DiVall, president of American Viewpoint, highlighted:

“The ethanol industry has been confronted with many challenges—lack of awareness, a very powerful opposition that is perpetuating myths, and an uneven playing field with Big Oil. Interestingly, American consumers overwhelmingly favor an end to Big Oil subsidies, which would place these two deliverers of energy on a more equal playing ground.

“The ethanol industry has a compelling narrative to advance to consumers—that it significantly reduces greenhouse gases and our dependence on foreign oil, is a job creator, that it reduces fuel costs for America and that it is serving to advance further innovations of renewable fuels,” DiVall said.

Dinneen concluded, “These are powerful public opinion numbers and we are anxious to share them with our supporters in Congress, in the administration, and the general public. It is time for Big Oil to get out of the way of progress. Americans are clearly interested in fuel choices that are made by Americans for Americans using renewable sources and with money-saving, environmentally-friendly benefits.”

The following are the exact questions posed to poll respondents and the results.

As you may know, there is currently a renewable fuels standard that requires a certain amount of the fuel produced each year to come from ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable sources that aren't fossil fuels in order to reduce foreign oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions. Do you favor or oppose this requirement?

Favor: 64 percent

Oppose: 25 percent

Don’t Know: 10 percent


Some have considered the government giving incentives to help fund the expansion of a new technology known as cellulosic ethanol, which is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses and other non-edible parts of plants. Do you favor or oppose these incentives?


Favor: 64 percent

Oppose: 24 percent

Don’t Know: 11 percent


As you may know, oil companies receive four to five billion dollars in government subsidies and special tax treatment and incentives for things like equipment depreciation, oil depletion allowances, and foreign investment tax credits for taxes they pay in foreign countries. Do you favor or oppose these tax incentives?

Favor: 25 percent

Oppose: 63 percent

Don’t know: 11 percent


Do you favor or oppose requiring automobile manufacturers to build cars that will run on fuel sources other than oil, such as electricity, natural gas and biofuels?

Favor: 76 percent

Oppose: 20 percent

Don’t Know: 4 percent