Bob Dinneen Gives the WSJ a Failing Grade

Posted on: April 19, 2013 in Ethanol, Gas Prices, Renewable Fuel Standard

The following letter was submitted to the Wall Street Journal.

If the editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal consider themselves students of mine, “An Ethanol Spring,” (April 17), I am saddened to report to you that you’ve failed.  Apparently, you skipped too many classes.  You missed, for example, the lesson about gasoline economics, where you might have learned that ethanol today is $0.60-0.70 cheaper than gasoline and that it is driving down the price of fuel all across the country.  That is just one important benefit of the growth of renewable fuels in the U.S. and the success of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

While you get extra credit for observing that the volume of renewable fuel now requires more than 10 percent ethanol to be used, you fail again to recognize that the RFS was always going to require these new fuels to move beyond just being a blend component in gasoline.  Congress didn’t create a 36 billion gallon requirement so that refiners could conveniently add octane.  They created the program to provide meaningful alternatives to oil.

You also missed the lesson on consumer choice, where the benefit of real competition and open markets empowers consumers to make the right decisions for their vehicles and their pocketbooks.  It seems inexplicably counter-intuitive that the WSJ would argue so vociferously (and inaccurately) about legally allowed and well-tested fuels like E15 and E85 when merely allowing these fuels access to the gas pump would end the debate.  Those fuels are denied market access today by an incumbent industry that wants to protect its monopoly. 

The RFS was designed to end the oil companies’ monopoly and drive innovation and diversity in liquid transportation fuels.  It is doing just that.  That is why I remain very confident the RFS will be preserved.  Until the WSJ starts paying attention to the energy, environmental, and economic cost of our addiction to oil, you will continue to fail.

Bob Dinneen

President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association

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