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Reps. Flores, Welch, Goodlatte and Costa Introduce Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act

May 11, 2016
Press Release
Protecting Consumers from Fuel Mandates

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representatives Bill Flores (R-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) have introduced bipartisan legislation to address issues surrounding the fuel mandates of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, H.R. 5180, limits the RFS mandate to levels that our nation’s cars, trucks, boats and other small engines can safely accommodate.

Rep. Peter Welch said, “Despite its initial promise, the RFS has been a well-intended flop that’s inflicting harm on consumers, the economy and the environment. The corn-based ethanol mandate is driving up the cost of feed for struggling dairy farmers. It’s driving up the cost of food for working families. It’s ruining the engines of boats, chainsaws and snowmobiles in Vermont and across the country. And it is harming the environment. This bipartisan bill caps the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline and provides much needed certainty on future RFS volumes.”

“In today’s market, the RFS is hurting consumer choices and increasing food and fuel costs for our families. Market conditions have dramatically changed since 2005 and 2007, when Congress created and subsequently expanded the RFS. Since that time, gasoline demand has fallen and is well below the volumes implied by the ethanol mandates in the 2007 statute. As a result, the legacy RFS formula has now caused a situation where the ethanol mandate exceeds the maximum amount of ethanol that can be efficiently blended into gasoline under real-world market conditions, and forces refiners to increase ethanol volumes above 10 percent of total gasoline production. Higher ethanol blends of this nature are harmful for small engines, engines for recreational vehicles and older vehicle engines. Furthermore, the current RFS mandates are causing higher emissions as well as higher fuel and food costs for consumers,” Rep. Bill Flores stated. “The bipartisan Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act is a common-sense solution to limit the negative impacts of the RFS on hardworking American families.”

“The ethanol mandate is operating outside of the confines of reality. Mixing greater amounts of ethanol into the fuel supply decreases fuel efficiency, sending motorists to the pump more frequently. It can also lead to costly trips to the repair shop for families, businesses, and farmers to fix the damage caused by higher ethanol blends to some vehicles and small engines, like lawn mowers. Forcing more ethanol to be blended into the fuel supply than consumers want, or that engines can safely handle, makes little sense,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte. “The Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act builds on the work of a bipartisan coalition in the House to reform this broken policy. We need relief from the burdens of the RFS now.”

Rep. Jim Costa added, “The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a well-intentioned policy that Congress passed in 2005. Unfortunately, with its passage came unintended consequences, which are negatively impacting American industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and food service. The RFS is no longer sustainable as currently implemented and the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act provides common-sense, long overdue reforms that address specific issues with the RFS.  This legislation will bring greater certainty to our gasoline retailers, engine manufacturers, and consumers, by imposing statutory deadlines for the mandated ethanol volumes to be published and capping that volume at no more than 10 percent. As the United States and the rest of the world continue to update our energy and transportation policies for the 21st century, Congress must work together on a bipartisan basis to pass this legislation, because it is an important step to bringing more certainty to the marketplace for transportation fuels.”

The Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act directs EPA to consider current market realities and cap the maximum volume of ethanol blended into the transportation fuel supply at 9.7 percent of projected gasoline demand as determined by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). It also requires EPA to meet its statutory deadlines in setting annual RFS volumes. If the EPA fails to meet a deadline, the previous RFS volumes under the blend wall would apply.

Text of H.R. 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act can be found by CLICKING HERE. Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) are also original cosponsors of the bill.