Yesterday the American Petroleum Institute (API) unveiled new anti-ethanol results from its May Harris Poll. Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), said of the poll, “API, an oil trade group which has made its top priority to get rid of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is yet again relying on push polling to foster its narrative that the public doesn’t support biofuels. With its push poll, API poll suggests a remarkable 77% of voters are concerned about higher ethanol blends.”
Today, Dinneen, along with Executive Director of the Advanced Biofuels Council Brooke Coleman, testified at the Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing’s on the RFS. This hearing comes shortly after the EPA held an RFS hearing on its proposed 2017 and 2018 rules in Kansas City. The API poll was intentionally released to coincide with the RFS comment period that ends July 11, 2016. Both Dinneen noted the strong support for consumer choice at the pump and consumers’ purchases of ethanol blends.
Dinneen, whose association coined the mantra “Don’t Mess with the RFS” several years ago, went on to call API’s poll “bunk”. He notes that it stands in “stark contrast” to a poll conducted on behalf of RFA by Morning Consult conducted last week that found not only do voters support the RFS by a greater than 3:1 margin, they support the continuation of the energy program. In addition, the poll found by a 2:1 margin that voters oppose efforts to reduce or repeal the RFS.
“API posed its two biofuel-related polling questions in a callously misleading way. By contrast, the RFA asked no leading questions. When voters are given a question devoid of prejudice, it’s amazing what happens.” Dinneen added, “the American public clearly wants alternatives to Big Oil, and biofuels can help reduce our petroleum dependence, while cleaning the environment and boosting the rural economy.”
According to RFA, here is API’s first misleading question:
‘As you may know, much of the gasoline in the U.S. market currently contains up to a 10% ethanol blend. Most auto manufacturers have said they will not cover vehicle damage caused by higher ethanol fuel blends. Given that situation, how concerned are you about government requirements that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline?’
RFA says…“What’s the truth? Auto manufacturers explicitly approve of E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) use in more than 70% of MY2016 vehicles, according to a December 2015 RFA analysis of warranty statements and owner’s manuals. But you wouldn’t know it from API’s biased polling question. There is not a single example of E15 destroying a consumer’s engine. API’s reference is so prejudicial, the result they got was preordained.
According to RFA, here is API’s second misleading question:
‘Do you agree or disagree that using even more corn for ethanol production could increase consumer prices here in the U.S. and increase hunger among the world’s poor?’
RFA says…“A report issued just last week by the World Bank and others found that biofuels from crops do not harm food supplies, and besides, corn used for ethanol comes from field corn, not the sweet corn that humans consume. API’s claim that ‘even more corn for ethanol production could increase consumer prices here in the U.S. and increase hunger among the world’s poor’ doesn’t pass muster and is another example of the desperate lengths they will go to mislead and misinform the public.”