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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Re: “Overhaul the fuel standard,” April 18 editorial:
The editors suggest that “by the measures most Americans care about, [the Renewable Fuel Standard] is failing.” But by those measures, we believe the RFS is working.
Renewable fuel, which makes up nearly 10 percent of our current gasoline supply, is already saving consumers a big chunk of their take-home pay.
A study out of Louisiana State University credits the mix of renewable fuel in our gasoline with lowering the average price of a gallon by 79 cents, and Iowa State University estimates the savings to be $1.09. Either way, that’s a significant savings — giving consumers more money to save or spend on their families.
Foreign oil imports are down 10 percent. American-made renewable blends, from E10 and 15 to E85, are available in some parts of the country. We’ve added $40 billion to America’s gross domestic product.
In Virginia, a company called Fiberight has built a waste-to-fuel plant. In most communities, we pay the garbage truck to collect our trash and carry it away to a landfill. Imagine if the driver took a different path, and carried the waste to a refinery to be turned into fuel that powers our cars, trucks and buses. It’s happening today in Lawrenceville.
Novozymes is proud to have a facility in Salem, so we’re aware of the concerns of our community. We work with farmers, and we know feed costs are a concern. But here’s the reality: Food and feed prices are driven by oil prices. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 84 percent of retail food costs are derived from nonfarm costs. In other words, 84 percent of the price of corn at the grocery store pays for energy, labor, marketing, packaging, transportation and more — not that corn. Every part of that supply chain relies on oil, so changes in oil prices affect what you pay for that corn.
Continuing to develop our renewable industry is a powerful, proven way to support our farmers, save you money on high gas prices and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Our concern is that would keep gas prices at the mercy of global oil markets and prevent consumers from having access to clean, domestic, competitive fuels.
The federal Renewable Fuel Standard is the single most important policy for biofuels, moving the nation toward the goals of lowering gas prices, increasing energy security, fuel diversity and economic opportunity. It calls for increasing the use of biofuels, which will reduce oil use and provide incentives for the development of new technologies like those at work in Fiberight’s Lawrenceville plant.
Companies like ours have spent more than $1 billion putting steel in the ground and creating jobs. Because of renewable fuel, 400,000 Americans are at work today in good-paying, stable jobs in the U.S. — and advanced biofuels can help create 800,000 more jobs. Advanced renewable fuel facilities are operating in more than 22 states.
The RFS is working. It’s working in Virginia. Let’s let it work.
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