The American Petroleum Institute recently commissioned a survey of Americans about the Renewable Fuel Standard.
What they found from a cross section of America was a lot of concern.
Longtime readers will recall that the Renewable Fuel Standard is the federal law mandating that refiners, including ExxonMobil, blend increasing amounts of corn-based ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply.
After polling more than 1,000 randomly selected registered voters, the survey found:
- More than three-quarters of those surveyed (77 percent) said they are concerned about potential government requirements to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline beyond the current 10 percent already – and the damage to engines and fuel systems that may happen as a result.
- The same percentage expressed worry that automobile manufacturers may not provide warranty coverage for damage caused by using fuel with an ethanol blend over 10 percent in vehicles not specifically designed for it.
- Similarly, more than three-quarters (76 percent) answered that they are anxious about how increased use of corn for ethanol could raise food prices and impact the levels of hunger around the world.
Particularly noteworthy is the poll shows both Republicans and Democrats expressing significant reservations about Washington’s ethanol policies.
“American voters are very concerned about the costs and consequences of this unworkable and unnecessary mandate,” said American Petroleum Institute official Frank Macchiarola about the survey results. “It’s past time for Congress to repeal or significantly reform this program.”
That message was echoed in a piece this week in Forbes by Johns Hopkins professor Steven Salzberg.
He noted the ethanol mandate is terrible policy, lowers gas mileage, and that “using corn to produce ethanol will double greenhouse gas emissions over a 30-year period” – which is completely contrary to point behind the policy in the first place.
Meanwhile the Office of Management and Budget has begun reviewing the proposed RFS volumes for 2017.
Let’s hope both the Obama administration and their counterparts on Capitol Hill take heed of these survey results and the increasingly strong public opinions about the ethanol mandate. Such bipartisan sentiment offers a foundation of support to provide relief from a policy that has unfortunate consequences for our cars, our food supplies, and our economy.