Americans Agree: RFS Damages Engines, Raises Food Costs

A new poll shows that the American people understand the harmful effects of mandating ever-rising ethanol volumes in gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Seventy-seven percent of likely voters are concerned about higher ethanol blends in vehicles, according to a Harris Interactive poll released on Oct. 2. Gasoline blended with more than 10 percent ethanol can cause engine damage in the vast majority of vehicles on the road, while most automakers say their warranties will not cover claims related to improper E15 use.

Moreover, 69 percent of voters agree that burning food to produce fuel raises household grocery bills. The U.S. currently diverts about 40 percent of U.S. corn supplies to produce ethanol, leaving less corn crop available for food and animal feed. As IER explains here, corn prices are 70 percent higher than before the RFS was enacted in 2005.

Half of U.S. voters agree that blending corn-based ethanol into gasoline, even at current levels, “could increase costs for consumers.” Only 28 percent of respondents do not agree that ethanol can hurt consumers.

When presented with the facts, as opposed to the ethanol lobby’s spin, Americans draw sensible conclusions about ethanol and the federal biofuel mandate. The RFS is a fatally flawed mandate that damages engines and raises food prices. The American people deserve better.

IER Policy Associate Alex Fitzsimmons authored this post.

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