Renewable Fuel Standard
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The National Council of Chain Restaurants opposes the federal Renewable Fuel Standard mandate to mix corn-based ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply because diverting corn to fuel unfairly drives up food prices for chain restaurants and their customers.
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The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires energy companies to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline supply each year. The requirement has created a huge demand for corn, which has dramatically increased its price as well as the price of all the animal products that use corn as feedstock. That has created price shocks for beef, dairy, pork, eggs, turkey, chicken and other foods, which has driven up costs for restaurants, retailers who sell food, and, ultimately, U.S. consumers.
Why It Matters to Restaurants and Retailers
A PricewaterhouseCoopers study commissioned by NRF’s National Council of Chain Restaurants found that the ethanol mandate costs restaurants $3.2 billion a year. One franchise owner told Congress that the mandate costs his four restaurants $120,000 a year, taking away funds that could be used to open additional locations and create new jobs.
NCCR Advocates to Repeal Ethanol Mandate
NCCR has led the chain restaurant industry’s efforts to have the Renewable Fuel Standard repealed, arguing that corn should be used for food rather than fuel. NCCR had repeatedly taken executives and franchise owners from member companies to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress, and has formed a coalition with restaurant companies. The coalition’s Feed Food Fairness: Take RFS Off the Menu campaign is aimed at passage of the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., and the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
The Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that 19.29 billion gallons of biofuel will be required under the program in 2018. That’s up slightly from the 19.28 billion gallons required in 2017 even though the agency originally proposed reducing the amount to 19.24 billion gallons. The largest share, 15 billion gallons, continues to come from corn-based ethanol while the remainder includes “advanced” biofuels such as biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other niche fuels. NCCR said the decision shows that the EPA “continues to bow to pressure from the ethanol industry” and called on Congress to either repeal the mandate or reduce the amount of ethanol required.
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