New House Energy and Commerce Committee White Paper on RFS Highlights Federal Petroleum Mandate

Press Contact: Monte Shaw

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Federal Petroleum Mandate Blocks New Fuels From Competing With Petroleum

JOHNSTON, IOWA – The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday released a “white paper” analyzing the federal renewable fuels standard (RFS) and a so-called E10 blend wall.  On page two, the white paper highlighted that new fuels are banned from competing with petroleum products unless first approved for use by the federal government.  This federal petroleum mandate hampers consumers from purchasing the ethanol blend of their choice.

In response to the white paper, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw made the following statement:

“IRFA welcomes a full, fair, and factual review of the RFS by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  However, the initial white paper focused on the so-called “blend wall” is very one-sided.  In fact, it seems to approach every issue from the Big Oil point of view.  For example, despite the contention, there simply is no such thing as a real ‘E10 blend wall.’  The reality is that refiners are going to great lengths to construct an artificial blend wall through their own direct actions as an excuse to tear apart the RFS.  Such a conclusion by elected officials would be highly ironic given that the RFS was enacted with the expressed purpose of cracking the petroleum monopoly and forcing the oil companies to allow alternative options to compete – options like cheaper, cleaner, higher performing E15.

“In what was perhaps an unintended moment of balance, the white paper does highlight that federal law establishes a federal petroleum mandate – a federally enforced prohibition of any fuel that contains less than 85 percent petroleum.  The federal petroleum mandate is one of the biggest problems today preventing fuel competition, consumer choice, and lower cost fuel options for Americans.”

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production.  Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.7 billion gallons annually, with one wet mill and two cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.