About 77 percent of likely voters are concerned that ethanol blends above a 10 percent level – the level mandated under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – may cause severe damage to the engines of their vehicles and its connecting fuel system components, recent report says.

“America’s energy-from-shale revolution has made the RFS an obsolete relic of our country’s decades’ long era of energy scarcity,” says Bob Greco, Downstream Group Director for the American Petroleum Institute (API), which released the poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

“It makes little sense to keep pushing a solution to fix a problem that no longer exists, especially when it could harm consumers and devastate our economy,” Greco says.

What’s more, the study says 69 percent of voters say that using more corn for ethanol production could increase consumer prices for groceries due to the reduction in the corn supply for food, food products, and animal feed.

At the same time, 66 percent say that federal government regulations could drive up the cost of gasoline for consumers.

“In other words, the public gets it,” Greco says. “Our job is to make sure Congress and the president gets it and that they listen to the American people.

Greco’s comments were made in a news conference call with reports from an assortment of publications, including Industry Today.

He adds: “Our nation needs to look forward to our bright energy future, and that means scrapping the renewable Fuel Standard, a bad piece of public policy that is poised to harm anyone who owns or uses small gasoline-powered engines, who eats, or drives a car. In other words, everyone.”

Greco says API is working with allied national trade associations to demonstrate to Congress and the administration just how harmful continued implementation of the RFS could be for consumers and the universal U.S. economy.

Likewise, he says the organization continues to advocate a two-step solution.

First, EPA needs to immediately waive down the 2014 ethanol mandate to below 10 percent. Greco says this would provide “a stopgap solution and protect consumers until Congress can act.”

Second, he says, Congress must repeal the RFS “once and for all” to protect consumers over the long run.

“We’ll use this poll to remind members of Congress and the administration that the American people are very concerned about the costs and consequences of this unworkable and unnecessary mandate,” he says.

Greco says, citing the EPA’s own fuel economy website, that fuel costs can be significantly higher when consumers use higher ethanol blends. Likewise, the increasing mandates under the RFS could push gasoline costs up 30 percent and diesel costs up 300 percent by 2015, according to a report by NERA economic consulting.

“And ethanol is worse for the environment,” Greco says. “EPA says that lifecycle emissions from corn ethanol is 27 percent higher than gasoline.”

About the American Petroleum Institute
API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 550 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.