Ag Policy Blog

Oil Poll Finds RFS Opposition, Ethanol Groups Disagree

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
Connect with Todd:

The results of a national push poll, http://bit.ly/…, on the Renewable Fuel Standard conducted by the American Petroleum Institute show what the group says is growing opposition to the law that requires the blending of ethanol in gasoline.

Vicki Krueger at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, wrote in a June 2016 post on the Poynter website that push polls are essentially political telemarketing designed to create negative views on political candidates, or in this case views on the RFS, http://bit.ly/….

The questions in the newly released poll are almost identical to a similar poll taken by the API in April 2016, http://bit.ly/….

In the latest poll, for example, API asked: "As you may know, much of the gasoline in the U.S. market currently contains up to a 10% ethanol blend. Most auto manufacturers have said their warranties do not cover vehicle damage caused by higher ethanol fuel blends over 10% if the vehicle is not specifically designed for it. Given that situation, how concerned are you about government requirements that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline?"

Of the 1,000 responses, 68% said they were either very concerned or somewhat concerned.

So essentially, a push poll question provides information up front that pushes a view point in an attempt to elicit certain responses.

Another API question asked the following: "Some in Washington are currently considering government regulations that would increase the amount of ethanol required in gasoline to a level that would breach the 'blend wall' - that is, the point at which the mandate exceeds the level of 10% ethanol in the nation's fuel supply. A nonpartisan government report concluded that breaching the 'blend wall' could increase the price of gasoline by up to 26 cents per gallon. Given that situation, how concerned are you about government requirements that could breach the 'blend wall' and exceed the 10% level of ethanol in the fuel supply?"

Of the 1,000 responses, 75% said they were either very concerned or somewhat concerned.

In a press call with reporters Friday, API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola said the group is hopeful new leadership at the EPA will take a "fresh look" at overall fuel demand when setting renewable volume obligations in the RFS. Also, in announcing the poll results, he said he hopes members of Congress will consider the public's concerns enough to reform the RFS.

"Sixty-eight percent of registered voters are concerned about the government requiring increased amounts of ethanol in gasoline and 74% agree that federal regulations could contribute to increased costs at the pump," Macchiarola said.

"Consumers have spoken loud and clear. The results of a new national API poll on the ethanol mandate send another strong signal to policy makers that RFS reform is desperately needed. We continue to urge Congress to pass legislation to fix the program, but until there is a fix, EPA should provide relief from the unreasonable statutory mandate."

In a response to the poll, the Renewable Fuels Association sent out a news release debunking the API.

RFA POLL

The RFA points to a poll conducted by Morning Consult in March, on behalf of the RFA, http://bit.ly/….

Note the difference in tone of the question: "As you may know, there is currently a Renewable Fuel Standard that requires a certain amount of the fuel produced each year to come from ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable sources that aren't fossil fuels. Do you support or oppose this requirement?"

The poll found 58% of 2,002 respondents said they support the RFS, and 17% said they are opposed.

"Consumers all across our country are seeing the benefits of the RFS, whether it's cleaner air, a reduction in our dependence on petroleum or a boost to local economies," RFA President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said in a statement.

"The RFS has been an unmitigated success, stimulating growth in domestic renewable fuels, creating a value-added market for farmers and providing choice at the pump for consumers."

Growth Energy Chief Executive Officer Emily Skor said in a statement the recent election results suggests there is broad support for biofuels.

"API's reoccurring push polls rely on misinformation and leading questions to get the answers big oil wants to hear," she said.

"They've never been remotely accurate. Not only do homegrown fuels enjoy broad bipartisan support, recent polling shows that strong support for the RFS helped decide the last election. More than eight in 10 battleground voters shared President Trump's support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard."

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

Comments

To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .