The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The Facts and the RFS

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 25, 2015

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for increasing use of ethanol continue to be debated publicly – in Congress, where lawmakers could vote to repeal the dysfunctional program and in places like Chicago, where service stations could be forced to carry higher-ethanol blend E15 fuel.

smallerThe Fill Up On Facts website is a great resource on the RFS, ethanol mandates and related issues. Information is available on the RFS itself, as well as problems that have made the program and its ethanol mandates untenable – like the refining “blend wall,” potential risks to vehicle and equipment engines and impacts on food prices.

All are significant issues as policymakers grapple with the possible consequences of a program that tries to centrally dictate market behavior despite fuel demand realities and consumer choices – saddled by government’s utter inability to manage its own mandates.

All are in play with the RFS, as is a growing realization that the program has done virtually nothing to make the U.S more energy secure and that it might not be as good for the environment as its supporters have claimed.

Chicago’s own RFS debate – over a mandate that would force service stations in the city to sell higher-ethanol blend E15 – remains before the city council. It would be an extension of the RFS’ command-and-control thinking, potentially imposing significant costs on small business owners and heightening potential risks to consumer vehicles and other property, including boats, motorcycles and outdoor power equipment.


Both the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune have written editorials opposing the E15 ordinance as bad for consumers, bad for business, bad for Chicagoland.

Smart development of energy policy reckons real-world impacts on markets, consumers and the environment. The RFS is broken and its flaws could inflict negative impacts on individuals and the economy as a whole. It should be repealed.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.