DeSantis and Flores Amendments Would Promote Free Market in Energy

Rep. Ron DeSantis, sponsor of the RFS reform legislation Rep. Ron DeSantis, sponsor of the RFS reform legislation[/caption] The free flow of the most efficient and effective energy at market rates is the best way to make energy costs more affordable to Middle Class as well as lower income Americans who have seen the price increases at the pump during the last seven years. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is proposing an amendment to the energy bill currently pending in Congress that would eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that could drive gasoline costs at the pump to levels higher than we’ve yet seen. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) also sought to address the issue with another amendment that would have stopped the increases in bio-fuels required by the RFS rule, limited them to a 10 percent “blend wall” that would limit ethanol to a level that would not cause corrosion in the engines of older vehicles, and smaller engines. Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Jim Costa (D-CA) have filed H.R. 1462, the RFS Reform Act, as an amendment to the energy bill. All three amendments were considered in the House Rules Committee but were not included in the order, because of a budget point of order, for the energy bill that will be debated soon in the House. Numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) were cited as the basis for not considering the amendments, that suggested changes in the RFS rule would have improved gas mileage, leading to lower gas tax revenue. A concession that lowering the percent of ethanol and other bio-fuels in the gasoline blends suggests the ineffectiveness of the blends as automotive fuel. Additionally, the CBO suggested that repealing RFS would lower demand for corn and lead to higher costs of farm subsidy programs. The RFS rule set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would continue to raise the percentages of bio-fuels required in the gasoline blends (including corn ethanol) through to year 2022, with the increases starting in 2014. The changes in blends add costs to the refining of gasoline and other fuels, which is the process in which the ethanol and other bio-fuels are added to the energy products by refiners.Under the rule,” E&E News reported, “U.S. fuel blenders will be required to mix 16.93 billion gallons of bio-fuels into fossil fuels in 2015 and 18.11 billion gallons in 2016, a 4 percent increase from the amounts in the proposed rule issued in May but less than what Congress intended when it expanded the RFS program eight years ago.” Corn ethanol will comprise about 14.05 billion gallons in 2015 and 14.5 billion gallons in 2016 under the RFS rule. This requirement will cause ethanol to exceed the 10 percent blend wall in 2016, where the overall demand for gasoline is expected to top 140 billion gallons. E&E News reports “EPA’s final rule sets the level of required volumes of bio-fuel for 2014, 2015 and 2016, with an additional 2017 requirement for bio-diesel only. The overall program, created in 2005 and expanded with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, seeks to boost annual bio-fuel production to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022.” Boosting bio-fuels may make politicians feel good, until they see the ramifications of a higher cost for energy and fuel that heavily impacts the middle class and poor. While climate change extremists are calling for more draconian measures to reduce usage of efficient fossil fuel resources, conservatives support the free flow of energy at market rates free of regulations like RFS. The most economically beneficial reform of RFS is the repeal of RFS as proposed by Rep. DeSantis that would lead to just one blending of gasoline for refiners to sell across America – simple 100 percent gasoline like we used before the implementation of the RFS rule requiring ethanol and other bio-fuels The RFS leads to higher cost, less efficient energy that is less effective at fueling our cars and trucks and other consumers of gasoline and diesel fuel. Congress would take a major step toward supporting economic growth for all Americans by eliminating the RFS rule.  ]]>

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