WASHINGTON, DC — Following the release of a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by Congressman Goodlatte and several of his colleagues calling for a reduction in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy released the following statement:
“It appears that the ‘cheap corn caucus’ is back at it again, looking for ways to get below the cost of production corn at the expense of American farmers, American energy security, consumer choice and savings at the pump.
“Despite false claims that biofuels are increasing the cost of corn, those who signed this letter failed to review the facts and recognize that just yesterday corn was trading at a 37 month low. Food conglomerates have enjoyed increased profit margins thanks to rising retail prices that are outpacing farm costs. During the 2012 drought, the farm value of chicken increased about $0.02 per pound compared to 2011.
“Wholesalers and retailers, such as fast food restaurants, increased their prices by about $0.13 per pound. Consumers paid an additional 8 percent—leading to higher profit margins for the food industry. For instance, Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat processor, is predicted to report a 37 percent gain in profit to $797.6 million in 2013. While this is no surprise, it is clear that this letter is playing to the special interests of Big Oil and Big Food. With corn trading at a three year low, have food companies passed along any savings to consumers?
“Additionally, ethanol is significantly cheaper than gasoline, trading .80 cents below the cost of gasoline. Already, the RFS provides consumer savings of $8 billion annually. The bottom line is ethanol is already helping consumers save at the pump and any effort to roll back RFS would only increase gas prices and increase already significant price burdens each time motorists fill up.
“Furthermore, this letter is filled with inaccurate information. In examining the real facts, it becomes apparent, after accounting for co-products, production efficiencies and new technologies, that only 17 percent of U.S. corn acreage is actually required to produce the ethanol feedstock, not the 40 percent alleged by this letter.
“The facts show that the largest driver in the increase in food is the cost of crude oil. In fact, a recent World Bank study outlines how crude oil prices are responsible for 50 percent of the increase in food prices since 2004. Yet folks representing the special interests of Big Oil and Big Food continue to recycle Big Oil’s talking points in order to keep our country addicted to foreign oil and profit at the expense of America’s farmers.
“Finally, the signatories of this letter seem to suggest that our nation should continue our addiction to foreign oil. Renewable fuels reduce our dependence on foreign oil, strengthening both our national and energy security, while creating jobs that cannot be outsourced and improving our environment, all while providing consumers a choice and savings at the pump.”
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About Growth Energy
Growth Energy represents the producers and supporters of ethanol who feed the world and fuel America in ways that achieve energy independence, improve economic well-being and create a healthier environment for all Americans now. For more information, please visit us at www.GrowthEnergy.org, follow us on Twitter @GrowthEnergy or connect with us on Facebook.