Letter: Defending the ethanol mandate

The Detroit News

The Detroit News is decrying the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that it claims is distorting the free market (“End the ethanol mandate,” Oct. 25). But there is no free market in energy and, without the program, consumers would be stuck with no choice at the pump.

The RFS is about offering consumers choices beyond just gasoline. The RFS has helped to clean the air, lower gasoline prices and boost local economies, while reducing our nation’s dependence on petroleum. The U.S.’ net petroleum dependence was 25 percent in 2016, but would have been 33 percent without the addition of 15.3 billion gallons of ethanol to the fuel supply.

And the RFS isn’t increasing the cost of gasoline. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline today. It is adding higher octane at a lower cost and reducing emissions in the process. If EPA wants to lower compliance costs to refiners, the agency should allow more lower cost ethanol to be used.

Michigan is home to five ethanol plants, collectively producing 405 million gallons per year. Consumers may prefer to purchase locally produced fuel from nearby corn and other feedstocks that boosts local economies, rather than send money to other countries. By providing consumer choice, the RFS should be applauded, not derided.

Bob Dinneen

president and CEO,

Renewable Fuels Association

The recent editorial calling for the end of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was unfortunate. The Trump administration should be applauded for pulling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back from oil industry lobbyists who want to slash U.S. biofuel production.

The RFS ensures that oil companies cannot block consumer access to higher-octane fuel options, something that true car lovers can easily get behind. That’s why the fossil fuel industry has been spreading lies about ethanol for decades. Those lies are a direct attack on Midwestern states like Michigan, where hardworking farmers help produce 362 million gallons of ethanol each year.

Gearheads deserve the truth. The EPA has approved E15, a fuel featuring a 15 percent ethanol mixture, for vehicles built since 2001, about nine out of 10 cars on the road today. Millions of miles of testing by U.S. Department of Energy back them up. More importantly, drivers like me have spent decades on the road, proving that higher-octane ethanol blends deliver more miles per dollar and superior performance. Even NASCAR’s 800+ horsepower engines run on E15.

Most car manufacturers, including the “Big Three” – General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford – approve the use of E15 for every new vehicle in their lineup.

Marc J. Rauch

executive vice president, Auto Channel