Originally passed by Congress prior to the
recession, the RFS requires gasoline sold in the U.S. to contain a
minimum amount of renewable fuel, most of which happens to be the
corn-based ethanol. However, given that an increasing amount of corn
continues to be diverted to ethanol creation rather than toward other
uses like livestock feed, opponents of the RFS highlight the increased
costs placed on businesses and consumers.
According to Rep. Goodlatte’s statement, his first bill, the RFS
Elimination Act, “eliminates the RFS and makes ethanol compete in a free
market.” His second bill, the RFS Reform Act, would simply cap the
amount of ethanol added to gasoline at 10 percent. EPA has issued rules
that would permit up to 15 percent ethanol on 2001 and later vehicles; a
decision that has been sharply criticized by car companies and small
engine manufacturers, who charge that these high levels of ethanol will
cause severe engine damage.
Those representing the ethanol industry continue to defend the RFS by
emphasizing the reduced cost to consumers at the pump while attacking
the oil industry for trying to eliminate the viable, competitive
alternative fuel that is ethanol.