Special to The Sun
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
To the Editor:
I am writing in response to Sen. Inhofe’s article “Obama’s ethanol mandate causes fuel prices to soar.” (The Edmond Sun, Opinion, Aug. 24, 2013) Before we move into the specifics, we need to clear up one very important fact, the Renewable Fuel Standard was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Bush. This legislation was created to decrease dependence on foreign oil and create a clean and environmentally friendly alternative to MTBE. It has succeeded on both accounts.
Now, as I’m sure Sen. Inhofe knows, there are two types of corn. There is sweet corn that humans consume, and there is feed corn, which serves as livestock feed. Ethanol is made from feed corn, and a bi-product of ethanol creation is Dried Distillers Grain with Solubles (DDGS), a high protein feed stock. One bushel of corn goes to make 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17 pounds of DDGS which makes its way back to the farm to feed livestock. I can promise Sen. Inhofe, no one is taking food off anyone’s table. We produce both fuel and feed!
Second, Sen. Inhofe points to two outcomes for refiners under the RFS to either raise the price at the pump to cover RIN penalties, or to export abroad. There are many more options for refiners than that, but let’s look at the most logical one blending more ethanol. Ethanol is 50-60 cents cheaper than gasoline, so offering higher ethanol blends to consumers that want to use them would both save consumers money and allow refiners to meet their obligation without having to purchase credits. There, problem solved.
Last, Sen. Inhofe claims that “this big government mandate is disrupting the free market.” The free market he is talking about is dominated by Big Oil. There is no way to break into the market controlled by the petroleum industry without policy. The RFS helps create choice and options at the pump. In 2011, the RFS saved consumers $1.09/gallon and families $1,200 in gasoline costs that year. That is significant savings that Oklahomans should welcome.
BOB DINNEEN is president and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association.