Ethanol claims contradict facts, support

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: July 21 2013 | 12:01 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 6:01 pm in

By Monte Shaw

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An oil-funded group recently submitted an outlandish column (“Ethanol lobby should stand on its own feet,” July 7, by Mark Lucas), that made for a sensational story. The problem: It lacked factual background and was littered with gross inaccuracies.

The oil-backed author says the “reality” is that Americans are unhappy with the high costs that the Renewable Fuel Standard imposes on business and consumers, harming the American economy at the “worst possible time.”

In reality, according to Iowa State University, ethanol is creating fuel choice and competition at the pump, lowering gas prices by $1.69 per gallon in Iowa and saving the typical Iowa family $2,363 each year.

In reality, a recent poll conducted by Research Now showed that 75 percent of Americans want more renewable options at the pump, and 73 percent of Americans support the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In reality, Iowa ethanol and biodiesel plants are reviving businesses and bringing young, talented workers back to rural towns with the promise of good-paying, green collar jobs.

It’s also obvious that Americans for Prosperity did not do its due diligence in researching its outrageous claims regarding E15 (blend of ethanol and gasoline) and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The facts are that E15 is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for all 2001 and newer vehicles, making up about 75 percent of the vehicles on the road today (much more than the 4 percent the author claims). And in many cases, Iowa’s retailers can add the option of E15 for little or no cost using existing equipment — not the $200,000 to $300,000 the author claims.

Finally, the reality is that the Renewable Fuel Standard was created to allow renewables to compete with a century of subsidies specific to the oil industry. Investopedia.com notes, “No other investment category in America can compete with the smorgasbord of tax breaks that are available to the oil and gas industry.” One would think that 100 years of industry-specific tax breaks for the most profitable industry in the world would be enough.

It’s high oil prices that Americans can’t afford. And the reality is that Americans support competition at the pump, and clean, green, homegrown E15 is just the next step toward lower gas prices, a cleaner environment, greater energy security and a stronger American economy.

Maybe The Gazette could sponsor a debate between Lucas and me on the Renewable Fuel Standard. I stand ready to defend my statements.

Monte Shaw is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, www.iowarfa.org. Comments: mshaw@iowarfa.org or info@iowarfa.org

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