Chain restaurants say EPA's proposed ethanol fuel level for 2019 is too high

"Once again, the EPA has caved to pressure."

NCCR Executive Director David French

WASHINGTON – The National Council of Chain Restaurants said increased biofuel levels for 2019 proposed today by the Environmental Protection Agency are too high and called on Congress to reduce or repeal the ethanol mandate established under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard program.

“Once again the EPA has caved to pressure from corn and ethanol interests,” NCCR Executive Director David French said. “Using food-based crops for fuel has been shown time and again to be bad for the environment and bad for consumers in the form of higher food prices.”

“The EPA has the authority to modify the annual volume mandate based on market conditions and other considerations, but the agency has repeatedly failed to use this authority,” French said. “Instead, it’s proposing to mandate the maximum amount of corn-based ethanol allowed under the law, simply because the corn and ethanol industries’ patrons in Congress demand it. It’s long past time for Congress to look beyond the narrow, parochial interests of the few to do what’s best for American consumers – repeal or significantly overhaul the RFS mandate.”

The EPA proposed today that fuel companies be required to blend 19.9 billion gallons of biofuel into the nation’s gasoline supply in 2019, a 3.1 percent increase from this year. Of that amount, 15 billion gallons must come from corn ethanol, the same amount as this year despite NCCR and other groups’ repeated calls for a reduction. The remainder must come from advanced biofuels like biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol and other niche fuels.

Enacted in 2005, the RFS has created an artificial demand for corn and soybeans, driving up food prices for consumers and introducing market volatility that makes it harder for restaurants and food retailers to forecast costs and make long-term business decisions. NCCR has repeatedly asked Congress to repeal the program.

NCCR is the leading trade association exclusively representing chain restaurant companies. For more than 40 years, NCCR has worked to advance sound public policy that best serves the interests of restaurant businesses and the millions of people they employ. NCCR members include the country's most-respected quick-service and table-service chains. NCCR is a division of the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade group.