The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Poll: Potential RFS Impacts Concern U.S. Voters

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted April 7, 2017

A new national API poll shows that American voters have serious concerns about the Renewable Fuel Standard and its mandates for ever-increasing levels of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Key findings from the survey of 1,000 registered voters:

  • 74 percent – Agree that federal regulations could contribute to increased costs for gasoline to consumers, including 82 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Independents and 69 percent of Democrats.

poll_rfs_gasoline_costs

  • 68 percent – Concerned about government regulations that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline (74 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Independents, 65 percent of Democrats).
  • 75 percent – Concerned that government requirements could breach the “blend wall” and exceed the 10 percent level of ethanol in the fuel supply (R-85 percent, I-73 percent, D-71 percent).

poll_blend_wall

  • 70 percent – Concerned that using more corn for ethanol production (currently more than 40 percent) could increase U.S. food prices (R-71 percent, I-70 percent, D-70 percent).
  • 59 percent –  Oppose moving the RFS “point of obligation” (R-57 percent, I-58 percent, D-62 percent).

API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola discussed the survey during a conference call with reporters:

“It is time for real RFS reform because the studies show the program does not benefit consumers. From recreational boaters and motorcyclists to environmental groups, an ever-increasing number of Americans are urging policymakers to fix the broken RFS mandate. … There is bipartisan agreement that the RFS is a failure. We continue to urge Congress to pass legislation to fix the program, but until there is a fix, EPA should provide relief from the unreasonable statutory mandate.”

Below, Macchiarola’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

As Congress and a new administration consider next steps on the broken Renewable Fuel Standard mandate, today we highlight some important insights and concerns from the American voter about the RFS.

Consumers have spoken loud and clear. The results of a new national API poll on the ethanol mandate send another strong signal to policymakers that RFS reform is desperately needed.

The poll results shows that 74 percent agree that federal regulations could contribute to increased costs at the pump and 68 percent of registered voters are concerned about the government requiring increased amounts of ethanol in gasoline. Seventy percent also think that the use of more corn for ethanol could increase food prices. As we have stated before, the broken RFS mandate aims to force consumers to use high ethanol blends they don’t want and don’t need, and this recent survey shows that the American public is concerned about the increasing mandates for more ethanol under the RFS.

Nearly 85 percent of vehicles on the road today were not designed for higher ethanol blends, such as E15. And many automakers say that using E15 could potentially void new car warranties. Higher ethanol blends threaten engines and fuel systems – potentially forcing drivers to pay for costly repairs, according to industry testing.  And the public remains uneasy about that, with three quarters of respondents expressing concern about breaching the blend wall.

The ethanol mandate could also impact the price at the pump. The Congressional Budget Office found that forcing ethanol consumption to statutory levels could cost consumers an additional 26 cents per gallon.

It is time for real RFS reform because the studies show the program does not benefit consumers. From recreational boaters and motorcyclists to environmental groups, an ever-increasing number of Americans are urging policymakers to fix the broken RFS mandate.

Finally, nearly 60 percent of voters oppose moving the point of obligation on the RFS, while only 20 percent support such a change. They recognize that – as the EPA noted in November – this shift could lead to a decrease in competition and a potential increase in fuel costs.  We continue to believe that moving the point of obligation is wrong-headed and a distraction from real RFS reform, and we urge the EPA to affirm its proposed denial and reject petitions to move the point of obligation.

There is bipartisan agreement that the RFS is a failure. We continue to urge Congress to pass legislation to fix the program, but until there is a fix, EPA should provide relief from the unreasonable statutory mandate.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sabrina Fang is an API media relations representative. Before joining API she worked for the Washington Humane Society and was a reporter for Tribune Broadcasting and covered the White House for seven years. Fang studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University before starting her career. She enjoys reading, watching movies and spending time with family.