Renewable Fuel Standard gives consumers a choice

I am writing in response to Mark Perry’s Sept. 28 op-ed on The Hill’s Congress Blog titled, “Consumers don’t want ethanol.”

Mr. Perry, you couldn’t be more wrong — what consumers want is choice.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) gives consumers choice at the pump. The RFS offers Americans E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) for drivers with flex fuel vehicles. The RFS offers Americans E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline) for cars 2001 and newer. And the RFS offers Americans E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline).

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A recent poll by Fuels America shows that 82 percent of Americans support having E15 at their local gas station. In fact, the same poll showed that 76 percent want access to even higher level blends such as E20 or E30. It’s obvious that people want options. The Renewable Fuel Standard is giving consumers more choice at the pump, and helping move America forward on many levels.

On a national level, the RFS decreases America’s dependence on foreign oil to 41 percent. Without ethanol, that number jumps to 48 percent. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50 percent compared to gasoline and contributed more than $43.4 billion to the United States gross domestic product in 2012.

On a local level, the RFS is revitalizing rural communities. It is creating jobs, at a time when jobs are hard to find. It has created more than 87,000 jobs and helped sustain another 295,000. It is supporting roads, schools and first responders through more than $7.9 billion paid in federal, state and local taxes. 

On an individual level, it saves drivers money at the pump. A recent analysis done by Philip Verleger showed that ethanol has saved consumers an average of $1.00/gallon in 2012 and 2013. One dollar a gallon adds up to very visible savings for drivers. That money can be used to pay the bills or enroll children in extracurricular activities instead of flowing into the gas tank. 

After knowing all of this, why on earth would you want to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard? As you mentioned, people can still get ethanol-free fuel — the RFS just gives them more choice.

It’s time for people to stop attacking the most effective energy policy our nation has ever seen. The answer is crystal clear: don’t mess with the RFS! 

Washington, D.C.


Dear Boehner, stop the shutdown

From a concerned federal employee

Dear Speaker John Boehner,

I am a young, mid-level federal employee, just at the beginning of what I hope to be a long career in public service. I am not essential personnel, but because I am paid through a funding stream that is not appropriated, I am continuing to work during this shutdown. Despite this, I have no idea when I might receive my next paycheck. I sincerely hope that it comes in time for the mortgage payment for my very small, modest home.

Speaker Boehner, I would like to ask that you allow the House of Representatives to vote on the “clean spending resolution” that would enable the government to reopen and 800,000 people to return to work. 

As a government employee, I don’t feel that it is appropriate for me to publicly comment on political issues. But you see, Speaker Boehner, the clean spending resolution is no longer a political issue. Rather, it is about upholding the democratic ideals and values of the United States of America, in which the House of Representatives is beholden first and foremost to the American people — not to political agendas, not to lobbyists and not to those who hold the purse strings for your next campaign. Our government is of the people, by the people, for the people; and the people have made their desires clear. The people have reelected President Obama, and enough representatives of the people in the House support the clean spending resolution for it to pass.

Every day the government remains closed because the House is not allowed to vote on the clean resolution, 800,000 federal employees are out of work. Thousands more — like me and my husband — are lucky enough to be working but do not know when we will next be paid. We are real people with families to support and bills to pay. We are real people, not just numbers on a page. We are real people, who run the political spectrum from Democrat to Republican and everything in-between. We are real people who dedicate ourselves, day in and day out, to serving all Americans. We are real people who often sacrifice higher salaries and fancy private-sector benefits because we believe in the power and importance and meaning of public service. We are real people who have and will continue to faithfully serve our country through blue times and red times, through budget crunches and surpluses, doing our very best to make a difference in what small ways we can. 

We are real people, Speaker Boehner, and though we may not live in your district, we do live in your country. 

Please allow the House of Representatives to vote on the clean spending resolution. The well-being of our government and country, and the livelihood of all those who work for it, is in your hands.

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