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What is the Renewable Fuel Standard?

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 3:34 PM by Iowa Corn

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) came into effect in 2005 and was reauthorized by Congress and expanded with strong bipartisan support in 2007.  We sat down with Amanda Taylor, senior policy advisor for Iowa Corn to answer questions about the RFS that you might have.  Her answers are below.

What does RFS mean?
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) promotes the production of home-grown renewable fuels, giving consumers an alternative to foreign petroleum. RFS has allowed for expansion of the American ethanol industry by creating market certainty. It requires that by 2022, the U.S fuel market blends 36 billion gallons of biofuels, with up to 15 billion gallons coming from corn-based ethanol.

Why is the RFS important?
The RFS is the only major policy in the United States that is reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It also provides consumers with lower energy costs and creates the necessary market conditions to encourage innovation in renewable energy. By requiring renewable fuel use, Congress has given investors the confidence that a market for biofuels will exist. In today’s market, the U.S. ethanol industry provides more than 400,000 jobs and brings $53 billion to our economy. It is estimated that additional job creation from advanced biofuels production under the RFS could reach 807,000 by 2022.

What is the most favorable aspect of the RFS? 
The most favorable aspect of the RFS is that it has provided a stable structure to encourage U.S. energy independence. It has encouraged renewable energy expansion in biofuels, thus creating jobs in America and lower prices at the pump for consumers.

Why does the Iowa Corn Growers Association support the RFS?
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) believes the Renewable Fuels Standard works well.  It helps to provide energy security and jobs in the United States while encouraging clean, renewable energy.

How would the Iowa Corn Growers Association improve the RFS?
Ethanol should be allowed to compete on its merits and be able to be considered an advanced biofuel, if it meets the same percentage (60%) reduction of greenhouse gases. Ethanol should not be unilaterally excluded, if it is able to achieve comparable greenhouse gas reductions as other advanced biofuels.

How can consumers support the RFS?
By choosing to fill up your vehicle with E10, E85, or biodiesel. You can also contact your member of Congress and urge them to support efforts in the House and Senate to maintain the RFS.

Amanda Taylor recently joined the Iowa Corn Growers Association as Senior Policy Advisor handling federal issues.  Prior to joining Iowa Corn, she spent four years as Agriculture Counsel to Senator Chuck Grassley in Washington D.C. handling agriculture policy, food safety, nutrition, and trade.  She has also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.  Amanda has a B.S. in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa Law School.

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