Fact Check: The Washington Times on the RFS


Fact Check: The Washington Times on the RFS

Posted 22 April 2013 in


It’s déjà vu all over again with a recent Washington Times piece from Steve Goreham. Friends of renewable fuel will be familiar with all of the reasons why his arguments are bunk, but stick with us as we put Goreham’s feet to the fire on his RFS fallacies:

First, his argument that “US dependence on oil imports is greatly reduced” and therefore we no longer need the RFS misses the mark. As long as the US remains reliant on oil as our main fuel source, swings in oil prices will continue to affect the U.S. economy – and harm consumers at the pump. Learn the “Truth Behind High Gas Prices in 60 Seconds.”

And, no, America cannot drill its way to oil independence. Check out why:

A recent American Security Project report finds that “we cannot drill our way out” of vulnerability to global oil markets. The reality that increased domestic production does not equate to being insulated from a global market – because America’s oil reserves are not big enough to supply 100% of the fuel demand.
A recent report by IEA predicted that drilling our way to oil independence will still leave us with oil costing $215+ per barrel. And you guessed it: consumers filling up their tanks will foot the bill.

Unfortunately, for U.S. consumers the only way to truly reduce our dependence on foreign oil is by diversifying our fuel supply with low-cost, homegrown renewable fuel.

Second, Goreham get caught red-handed with not keeping up with the news cycle, when he writes, “recent studies show that the use of ethanol and biodiesel does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

News flash: Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released their Tracking Clean Energy Progress report in New Delhi. The report explains that biofuels are playing a significant role in reducing greenhouse gases and in fact, IEA is calling for increased global biofuel production to further GHG reduction. Check out the full Fuels America blog post on this here.

Additionally, he states “mandates for ethanol vehicle fuel are also boosting food prices.”

In reality there is no correlation between food prices and ethanol production. Need proof? In this chart, note the strong divergence in 2009 – as ethanol production rose, food prices fell. That is because food prices ARE driven by OIL prices. Note the exact correlation between food and oil – not food and ethanol – prices in the 2009 time period, in this chart.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 84% of retail food costs are derived from non-farm costs, leaving the cost of food that derives from the value of farm products at 16%.

Bottom line: the RFS is providing consumers with choice and savings, creating jobs, and providing environmental and improving national security. What has the RFS done for you lately? A lot.




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Fact Check: The Washington Times on the RFS

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