Republican Party members introduce bill that aims to limit ethanol blend in transportation fuel

A bill has been introduced by a group of Republican Party members that aims to limit the total volume of ethanol contained in transportation fuel to 9.7%.

The bill is entitled HR 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act of 2016 and was introduced in the US House of Representatives.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), implemented in 2005, was designed to promote use of a homegrown, "green" fuel. The law requires increasing volumes of ethanol — primarily made from corn — to be incorporated into the US fuel supply.

However, Republican Party member for Texas, Bill Flores, who was the main sponsor to introduce HR 5180, criticised the RFS and said it was “hurting consumer choices and increasing food and fuels costs” for US families.

He added: “Market conditions have dramatically changed since 2005 and 2007, when Congress created and subsequently expanded the RFS. Since that time, gasoline demand has fallen and is well below the volumes implied by the ethanol mandates in the 2007 statute.

“As a result, the legacy RFS formula has now caused a situation where the ethanol mandate exceeds the maximum amount of ethanol that can be efficiently blended into gasoline under real-world market conditions, and forces refiners to increase ethanol volumes above 10% of total gasoline production.

“Higher ethanol blends of this nature are harmful for small engines, engines for recreational vehicles and older vehicle engines. Furthermore, the current RFS mandates are causing higher emissions as well as higher fuel and food costs for consumers.”

Other Republican Party members who co-sponsored the bill included Bob Goodlatte and Steve Womack. In addition to this group, Democractic Party members Cedric Richmond, Peter Welch and Jim Costa also co-sponsored the bill.

‘A blow to American consumers’

Ethanol groups have criticised Flores stance.

Growth Energy’s, a US ethanol trade body, co-chair Tom Buis said: “This bill is incredibly flawed because the ethanol industry is already producing over the bill’s 9.7% threshold and growing.

“Perhaps more importantly this bill would deal a blow to American consumers who have embraced ethanol as a less expensive, 21st Century fuel that is higher performing and allows for consumer choice.”

He said that home-grown ethanol is an American success story that has helped America ‘s path to energy independence with a “clean-burning  fuel that’s better for the air we breathe and our environment”.

‘Fuel the world’

He added: “American farmers have shown that they can feed and fuel the world and any claim that says we cannot have both food and fuel is simply a self-serving charge aimed at driving a specific agenda with no factual merit.

“The fact is that consumers are demanding and using higher blends of biofuels, like E15, because it is an advanced fuel with higher-octane levels that increases performance in 21st century vehicles. Furthermore, E15 burns cleaner, lowers toxic emissions, and saves consumers at the pump—facts the oil industry desperately attempts to blur with negative advertising campaigns and misleading legislation.

“This legislation is a measure that would move the clock backward and demolish the progress made under the RFS to move America forward in terms of energy independence, consumer choice at the pump, and a cleaner future.”