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NTU writes in support of the “Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act.”

April 10, 2013

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
United States House of Representatives
2309 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Jim Costa
United States House of Representatives
1314 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
 The Honorable Steve Womack
United States House of Representatives
1119 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Peter Welch
United States House of Representatives
2303 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives Goodlatte, Costa, Womack, and Welch:

         On behalf of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in support of your “Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act.” This bill would eliminate the corn ethanol mandate, reduce the cellulosic ethanol mandate, and cap ethanol blends at E10. Together, these important reforms would help to ease the current strain on corn supplies and lower costs for consumers on everything from food to transportation.

         In the wake of last summer’s devastating drought, and as refiners warn of the approaching “blend wall,” the original goals of the biofuels mandates as set forth in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 have become obscured by the destructive unintended consequences of these policies. The advanced cellulosic biofuels meant to relieve our economy’s dependence on traditional fuels have not come to fruition. Lack of flexibility and common sense on the part of the law and administrators have caused gallons upon gallons of costly corn ethanol to be mixed with our fuel supply to meet arbitrary standards despite falling fuel consumption.

         For taxpayers, the market distortions imposed by the RFS mandates have been challenging. Higher blends of ethanol in the fuel supply increase the risk of engine damage. Ethanol’s lower fuel economy means that consumers have to refill their gas tanks more often, especially painful when fuel prices are already very high. Record-high corn prices have also led to increased pressure on other grains such as soy and wheat, both of which have jumped in prices and are found in both animal feed and numerous food products. Experts at the agriculture investment house Rabobank estimate there will be a 14 percent jump in overall food prices in the next year, a historic increase.

         With budgets already stretched thin, American families shouldn’t have to pay the price for these damaging mandates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 consumers spent, on average, 13% of their annual expenditures on food. For poor families, this percentage is even higher, meaning the burden of this government policy falls disproportionately on the shoulders of those who can least afford it. 

         After years of economic struggle, American consumers need a break. This legislation would immediately open up the corn market, creating a level playing field and relieving the pressure on everyone from food producers to families. This bill is an important first step toward correcting a serious Congressional overreach, and NTU applauds you for your concerted bipartisan effort. NTU is pleased to endorse the “Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act” and we urge all Representatives to co-sponsor this legislation and work toward its swift enactment.

Nan Swift
Federal Affairs Manager