Enacted in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the Renewable Fuels Standard has been a “resounding success” by any measure, the Renewable Fuels Association told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in testimony submitted today ahead of a hearing on the landmark energy and environmental policy.
“In addition to decreasing reliance on imported petroleum, the RFS has reduced emissions of harmful tailpipe pollutants and greenhouse gases, lowered consumer fuel prices, supported hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural America, and boosted the agricultural economy by adding value to the crops produced by our nation’s farmers,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “And far from ‘distorting the free market’ as RFS opponents often claim, the policy has been remarkably effective in stimulating market competition and giving consumers more choices. Simply put, the RFS ensures renewable fuels are able to gain access to a fuel market that had been monopolized for nearly a century and would otherwise be closed to competition.”
In the testimony, RFA went into detail on these major points:
- The RFS has led to undeniable environmental benefits since its inception, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one billion metric tons.
- Compliance credits (or RINs) under the RFS do not increase the price of liquid fuel at the retail level and their cost is fully recoverable by the obligated party.
- The issuance of small refinery exemptions has had a negative impact on US biofuel producers, farmers, and the environment.
- Removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers that block the use of fuel blends containing higher levels of ethanol, such as 15 percent ethanol blends (E15), would enhance and improve RFS compliance and effectiveness.
- The opportunity for the RFS to help meet net-zero carbon emission goals by 2050 can be complemented by a nationwide technology-neutral, performance-based low carbon fuel standard.
Click here for a white paper prepared by RFA in 2020, marking the 15th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard.