RFS & biodiesel
The editorial “‘Lifesaving' ethanol?” arguing against the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) ignores the reality that the program encompasses a number of renewable fuels categories, including advanced biofuels like biodiesel, which is produced extensively in Pennsylvania.
The RFS program was created by a bipartisan coalition in Congress that recognized it is paramount to America's national security, economic and environmental interests to move away from a singular reliance on petroleum. The first phase of the program was about corn ethanol — diversifying our gasoline pool with some 15 billion gallons of American-made biofuel. The second phase is aimed at boosting other alternatives. It has helped biodiesel grow from a niche fuel into a billion-gallon-a-year commercial-scale industry with plants nationwide, including several in Pennsylvania.
And the RFS is working. We're importing less oil than at any time since 1991. Independent analysis by economist Philip Verleger found the RFS saved consumers as much as $2.6 billion in 2013 alone. And, yes, advanced biofuels like biodiesel reduce carbon pollution by as much as 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel.
Now is not the time to turn back the clock. Let's support a program that is diversifying our transportation fuels mix and helping break America's addiction to oil.
The writer is vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (biodiesel.org).