Guest Columnist

Contrary to columnist's claims, the RFS works

E-15 fuel available for purchase at Linn Cooperative Oil in Marion on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
E-15 fuel available for purchase at Linn Cooperative Oil in Marion on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

As an outspoken libertarian in favor of open markets, it is unfortunate that in a recent column, Adam Sullivan did not look closer at the history of U.S. energy policy before disregarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) while blindly repeating every discredited claim about biofuels from Big Oil.

In fact, not only has Big Oil enjoyed federal tax subsidies for the past 100 years, the federal government actually mandates all vehicle fuel be petroleum-based except for what is allowed by the RFS.

The RFS is not distorting the energy market. It is cracking through the petroleum monopoly on our country’s fuel supply.

Furthermore, it is surprising that Sullivan’s piece boils down support for E15 (fuel containing 15 percent ethanol) from Iowa’s leaders and President Donald Trump to a political talking point while downplaying the — as Trump phrased it — “unnecessary and ridiculous” government restrictions on E15.

E15 reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the emissions of toxic chemicals into our air. Yet it is shut out of the market in more than two-thirds of the country during the summer months because of an outdated regulation that does nothing to protect the American public and everything to help support Big Oil’s monopoly.

Even Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have gone on the record saying E15 restrictions should be removed.

I ask myself what could be more libertarian than opposing such a government regulation? The answer should not be repeating tired lies about corn-based ethanol. The truth is, since the RFS was implemented, food prices are down and farmers are harvesting record crops on fewer acres.

Iowa-produced biofuels such as E15 receive bipartisan support on a state and national level because they support lower fuel costs for consumers, boost the rural economy, and are better for our environment, public health and our engines.

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In a truly open market, E15 would win every time and consumers deserve to have that choice. Isn’t that something we and a libertarian such as Sullivan can agree on?

• Cassidy Walter is communications director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

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