Winners & Losers? Changing the Equation at the Pump
Posted 27 March 2015 in
Opponents of the commonsense, bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard like to say that Washington “shouldn’t pick winners and losers” when it comes to energy policy.
It’s hard to make this argument with a straight face, however, especially since Washington has been favoring oil companies with special tax breaks, an oil spill bailout fund, and other favorable policies for more than a century.
It was, after all, President Woodrow Wilson who signed the “percentage based depletion allowance” into law back in 1913 … a tax break which is, incredibly, still on the books after more than 102 years. In contrast, the ethanol tax credit expired in 2012.
The dominance of oil companies has given them a near monopoly on the marketplace and the power to use exclusive supplier/distributor contracts to dictate which fuels retailers can and cannot make available to consumers. There is a long, well documented history of oil companies exerting this control to prevent consumers from having access to a wider range of renewable fuel options — higher octane options that deliver better engine performance but cost less and cut into their bottom line.
The Renewable Fuel Standard changes that equation, and ensures that homegrown, American made renewable fuel has a chance to access the marketplace. It is providing new fueling options for American consumers and creating market certainty so that businesses are investing billions of dollars in next generation technologies like cellulosic ethanol production. Without it, that investment would quickly shift overseas, and America would become ever more dependent on foreign oil.
Gutting the RFS means allowing oil companies to prevent competitors from accessing the market. Now THAT is picking a winner … the same winner Washington has been picking for a century.