WASHINGTON, D.C. — This Friday marks the seventh anniversary of the signing into law of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The law expanded the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and set America on a path toward a cleaner, more energy-independent future. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) compiled a report that examines the impact of the RFS over the past seven years on the economy, job creation, agriculture, the environment, fuel prices, petroleum import dependence, and food prices.
EISA was approved in the Senate by a vote of 86–6 and passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 314–100. After gaining Congressional approval, the legislation was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Dec. 19, 2007. It greatly expanded the scope and range of the RFS by setting a timeline for increased amounts of renewable fuels to be blended into America’s fuel supply each year.
“The RFS was always intended to be a marathon and not a sprint. Results were never intended to come overnight, but over the past seven years America has reaped vast economic, environmental, and national security benefits due to the increased use of home-grown, renewable fuels,” noted Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Today’s report overwhelmingly shows that the RFS has been an unmitigated success.”
Dinneen continued, “The only hiccup in the unprecedented success of the program is a consequence of EPA’s recent failure to implement the program as designed by Congress. As we blow out the candle on the RFS’ seventh birthday cake, we do so with a wish that EPA would quickly restore the RFS to a trajectory that will enable continued investment in advanced biofuels, drive the market beyond the blend wall, and provide consumers with meaningful options and savings at the pump.”
Among its findings, the report notes that “Renewable fuel production and consumption have grown dramatically. Dependence on petroleum—particularly imports—is down significantly. Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector have fallen. The value of agricultural products is up appreciably. And communities across the country have benefited from the job creation, increased tax revenue, and heightened household income that stem from the construction and operation of a biorefinery.”
According to the analysis, since 2007:
- The number of operational ethanol plants in the United States has nearly doubled, while annual ethanol production has more than doubled.
- Advanced biofuel production has more than tripled.
- Corn acres planted have fallen 3 percent, while corn yield per acre has jumped 15 percent. Meanwhile, corn prices have fallen 17 percent.
- The size of the hypoxic “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico has shrunken by one-third, and deforestation in the Amazon has fallen by more than half.
- Transportation-related GHG emissions are down 10 percent.
- The share of U.S. crude oil demand satisfied by imports has fallen from 66 percent to 47 percent.
- Oil imports from OPEC are down more than 40 percent.
- The World Food Price Index is just 3 percent higher.
- Spending on food has increased $469 per household, 7.6 percent higher than in 2007 and in line with typical inflation rates. Meanwhile, household spending on gasoline and motor oil is up nearly 10 percent.
The full report can be found here.