Patriots Can Eliminate RFS Mandates

Patriots Can Eliminate RFS Mandates

More light needs to be focussed on Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) legislation.

It has become a major farm subsidy that lacks merit. It’s riddled with corruption and possible fraud in the use of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).

It’s supported by Senators from both parties where farmers are major constituencies.

While it makes sense for Senators and House members to support legislation that benefits their constituents, it might seem reasonable to expect they would also do what is best for the United States.

In the case of RFS, it has reached the point of absurdity, supporting farmers and special interests, but not Americans in general.

There isn’t even a desire among Senators to address the issue, and find a way to gradually eliminate the RFS program that only benefits farmers and special interests while hurting everyone else.

Senators have used strong-arm tactics, threatening to hold up presidential appointments, to keep these mandates in place this year.

Cellulosic Ethanol in light blue. Corn-based ethanol in dark blue.

A quick look at the chart highlights some absurdities.

Cellulosic Ethanol

The most obvious absurdity is the requirement for 17 billion gallons of a product that barely exists, i.e., cellulosic ethanol, to be blended with gasoline by 2022, only five years from now.

The legislation calls for five billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol to be blended this year, though the EPA has relaxed this mandate so that only 0.3 billion gallons need to be blended in 2017 … And that’s about all the cellulosic ethanol that can be scraped together.

Biodiesel

The second absurdity involves biodiesel. While smaller volumes are involved, i.e., only 2.0 billion gallons in 2017, it turns out that the United States must import some of those gallons from foreign countries. Somewhere between 250 million and a billion gallons will need to be imported according to Paul Driessen who has researched the biodiesel issue.

It’s absurd to import any amount of biodiesel just to meet an RFS mandate.

Advanced Biofuels

Then there are Advanced Biofuels.

According to the EPA website, “Advanced biofuel can be produced from qualifying renewable biomass (except cornstarch) and must meet a 50% GHG reduction.”

Apparently, the main qualifier for Advanced Biofuels is that they cut CO2 emissions by 50%.

It’s not clear, but advanced biofuels may include drop-in fuels that are near substitutes for petroleum-based fuels.

This category is absurd for two reasons.

  • First, there is no need to cut CO2 emissions.
  • Second, there’s no need for drop-in fuels since the United States has huge supplies of oil and natural gas.

Corn-Based Ethanol

Corn-based ethanol currently comprises the largest portion of the RFS mandate, but corn-based ethanol will be playing second fiddle to the other types by 2022.

Summary

All biofuels except corn-based ethanol are absurd.

Either we can’t produce them or must import them or they are only needed to cut CO2 emissions and replace petroleum-based fuels.

It’s clear from the EPA website that the driving force behind these mandates is to cut CO2 emissions.

From the EPA website,

“The fuel with a higher GHG reduction threshold can be used to meet the standards for a lower GHG reduction threshold.”
“For example, fuels or RINs for advanced biofuel (i.e., cellulosic, biodiesel or sugarcane ethanol) can be used to meet the total renewable fuel standards (i.e., corn ethanol).”

In other words, American farmers who produce corn ethanol can be replaced by those who produce other types of biofuels, including from outside the United States.

Farmers are among America’s greatest patriots. Certainly, they will support eliminating absurd mandates and agree to sensible reductions in corn-based ethanol mandates.

2 Replies to “Patriots Can Eliminate RFS Mandates”

  1. If more ethanol is needed, the US can easily make it from coal or natural gas. To do so would be far cheaper than a war.

    Eliminating foreign fuel purchases may not stop the wars in the Middle East, but increasing such purchases will inevitably provide more incentive to continue them. If there’s one thing the US doesn’t need, it’s more wars.

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