The 2016 presidential campaign’s Iowa kickoff is almost here, and with the Hawkeye state the center of attention in the race so too is ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, but there has been plenty of misrepresentation of the industry along the way. Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen is at least pleased that most candidates have been supportive.
“I think it’s instructive that of the 14 major party candidates running for president right now, 12 of them have expressed support for the RFS and the only 2 that have not, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, have each gone out of their way to dust off their ethanol bona fides by talking about the need for market access and their efforts to get EPA and government regulation out of the way, so quite frankly all of the presidential candidates are talking about ethanol today.”
But the media play of ethanol has been inaccurate at times, for example when they refer to a corn ethanol subsidy.
“There actually is no subsidy for corn ethanol. We gave that up in 2011. They talk about the RFS being a subsidy for corn ethanol and we’ve got to try and explain that no, in fact the RFS is really just leveling the playing field. It is a mechanism to provide market access because the oil companies control gasoline infrastructure.”
Dinneen also pointed out that some media have erroneously referred to the RFS as a corn ethanol mandate when there is no actual mandate for corn ethanol.
“There is a mandate for renewable fuels that can be filled by biodiesel, renewable diesel, renewable gasoline, advanced biofuels, but in fact the RFS limits the amount of ethanol that can be used in the program.”
While Senator Ted Cruz has been criticized for his proposal to phase out the RFS over 5 years, Dinneen says the Texas senator is largely supportive of ethanol. But Dinneen would like to see Cruz focus more on the subsidies that oil companies receive.