Potential candidates should oppose RFS

This weekend, American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle penned an opinion piece at the Des Moines Register on the Renewable Fuel Standard. The text of the piece is below:

Among the many hot button issues presumed Republican presidential candidates will address at the Iowa Ag Summit will be the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a federal mandate requiring that fuel refiners use a rising amount of biofuels each year.

While it may be tempting to praise the RFS while in town, these presidential hopefuls should stand firm and reject this federal mandate for at least three principled reasons.

First, the problem that RFS backers said they were trying to solve — America’s perceived over-dependence on foreign oil — is no longer an issue. When Congress created the RFS in 2005, domestic oil production accounted for only 40 percent of total U.S. oil consumption.

Fast-forward 10 years and the RFS is a solution in search of a problem. Domestic oil production now accounts for more than three-quarters of total U.S. consumption — nearly double the level at the time of the RFS’ 2005 creation.

The RFS also increases fuel and food prices to the detriment of Iowa families.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office found the RFS could increase diesel prices by 30 to 51 cents per gallon by 2017. Regular gasoline could jump by up to 27 cents, more than a 10 percent increase over today’s $2.46 per gallon statewide.

The RFS also drives up food prices. When farmers are selling their corn, soybeans, and other crops to RFS producers, there is less available for us to eat. A top U.N. official has even gone so far as to call the use of food-based biofuels a “crime against humanity.”

This is the reality of the RFS: an unnecessary federal mandate that raises fuel and food prices on American families. Presidential candidates like to boast they stand on principle. They can practice what they preach by opposing the RFS.

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