The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, or IRFA, is calling upon Big Oil lobbyists to come clean when discussing the special treatment their industry has received for 100 years. At a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing last week on the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, oil lobbyists again claimed their industry does not receive or support "subsidies and mandates."
"Big Oil is following the old tactic of attempting to repeat something enough that people mistakenly believe it is true," says IRFA executive director Monte Shaw. "In reality, Big Oil constantly and aggressively pursues an anti-free market agenda designed to perpetuate their monopoly over transportation fuels. When you compare the record to the rhetoric it is hard to take Big Oil seriously."
In reality, 2013 represents the 100th year that the petroleum industry has received special taxpayer-funded subsidies. A partial list of the billions of dollars of subsidies unique to the oil industry includes:
* Expensing of intangible drilling costs
* Percentage depletion allowance
* Geological and geophysical expenditures
* Deduction for tertiary injectants
* Exception from passive loss limitations for oil and gas
* Marginal oil well incentives
* Enhanced oil recovery credits
In addition, since 1977 petroleum-based fuels have been mandated by the U.S. Congress for nearly every gasoline powered vehicle. Only two other fuels (E10 and E15) have been approved, leaving a virtual 85% federal petroleum mandate backed by $25,000 per day fines for those who would dare to choose their own fuel.
Shaw adds, "For 100 years the oil industry has used public policy to tilt the energy playing field in its favor and today is no different. The Renewable Fuel Standard is the only policy designed to crack through the petroleum monopoly and provide consumers with real fueling choice, not the dictates of an oil monopoly."
Big Oil using senate committee hearing to smear ethanol, again
Shaw says Big Oil is using the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on fuel prices to blame ethanol for recent increases in gas prices, when it's really high oil prices that are causing Americans to pay more at the pump.
Shaw adds, "In Big Oil's relentless effort to maintain its near-monopoly over transportation fuels, smear ethanol, and dismantle the Renewable Fuel Standard, they're now attempting to blame ethanol for high gas prices. Americans need only to look at the nearest pump prices to see straight through this false argument. The lowest-cost fuels are ethanol blends. In fact, the lowest pump prices are higher ethanol blends, like E85, that come directly from an ethanol plant and pass the RIN savings on to consumers. For example, yesterday's wholesale price for E85 from Absolute Energy was $1.70 while the average wholesale price for straight gasoline was $3.03 according to OPIS."
The truth is -- ethanol lowers gas prices, and the proof is at the pump
"This is only Big Oil's latest desperate move to maintain market dominance at the expense of the American consumer. University studies show that ethanol lowers gas prices by more than $1 a gallon nationwide. Big Oil would like Congress to believe that with fracking we don't have to worry about foreign oil anymore. Yet even with domestic oil production at one of the highest levels in 30 years, crude oil is over $100 per barrel and Americans are paying near record-high prices at the pump. It's obvious that Americans not only need higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85 to take the pressure off their lungs, but to take the pressure off their wallets as well."
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.7 billion gallons annually, with one wet mill and two cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website.