Growth Energy, RFA respond to House white paper on RFS

By Holly Jessen | June 25, 2013

Responding to the fourth in a series of five white papers from the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, two trade associations pointed to the renewable fuel standard (RFS) as a successful energy policy that is working.

“One new energy source — ethanol — is already making a difference,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Because of the RFS, ethanol already accounts for 10 percent of the nation’s gasoline supply. Because of the RFS, ethanol displaced the need for the amount of gasoline refined from 462 million barrels of imported crude oil in 2012. Because of the RFS, the biofuels industry stands ready to contribute substantially more to our nation’s energy and economic security.”

Growth Energy also submitted answers in response to the request for stakeholder input on the RFS and energy security. "We are taking meaningful steps in reducing our addiction to foreign oil and to fix something that is not broken would be poor policy and put us back in the road to increased imports,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “Furthermore, without the RFS, there will be no other competitive alternative to imported oil, and American consumers will continue to be held hostage to the supply chain of the oil industry.”

The RFS is reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil—what it was designed to do, he continued. In 2005, when the RFS was first made law, the nation was nearly 60 percent dependent on foreign oil. The number is closer to 45 percent today. “While we have increased domestic oil production, ethanol has also grown to be 10 percent of America's fuel supply, and has the ability to displace even more foreign oil, Buis said. “Additionally, several studies have shown that the United States is spending billions of dollars to protect oil supply routes in the Middle East—these costs could be dramatically reduced if we turned to more home-grown renewable ethanol.”

Although some claim reduced dependence on foreign oil is due to domestic oil production, that exaggerates the impact of new, unconventional sources of oil, Dinneen said. Biofuels has had a much larger impact, mostly ethanol. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Admiration points to the increased use of domestic biodiesel and ethanol as a major driver in decreasing the amount of petroleum imported to the U.S. Cumulative new ethanol production since 2005 accounts for 62 percent of new liquid fuels produced in the U.S., while domestic crude oil production is at only 38 percent, he said. 

The full responses of RFA and Growth Energy can be found online.