October 20, 2015


October 20, 2015
Contact: Ryan Williams
[email protected]

Washington – Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI) released the following statement on a deceptive attack by Smarter Fuel Future on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). A new ad released by Smart Fuel Future—an organization that openly represents the oil industry—uses outdated, false claims that the RFS increases greenhouse gas emissions and raises the price of food:

“The Renewable Fuel Standard is America’s most successful energy policy, and recent scientific studies have proven that it has helped to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to studies used by the United States Department of Energy, using corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent compared to regular gasoline while advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol can achieve reductions in greenhouse gases of 86 percent or higher.

“Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has analyzed how the RFS will impact our economy and determined that it will have no significant impact on food prices.

“The myths about the RFS in this ad are false and this ad is nothing more than a dishonest attempt by a big oil front group to undermine the success of this worthy policy. Instead of citing actual facts, RFS critics are forced to peddle the same phony claims that have been repeatedly debunked by the scientific community.”

MYTH: “Ethanol Nearly Doubles Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (“Inconvenient Fact,” Smarter Fuel Future, 10/15/15)

FACT: The oil industry ads rely on a 2008 study authored by Tim Searchinger to make this claim. First, Tim Searchinger has a long history of criticizing the RFS as a representative of groups funded by the oil industry. (Biofuels Journal, October 16, 2015). Second, it is not a well-regarded analysis by experts in the field, in part because it models a scenario in which 30 billion gallons of corn ethanol are used (the RFS caps corn ethanol at 15 billion gallons). Third, the overwhelming majority of more recent scientific analysis confirms the carbon benefits of corn ethanol, including work done by U.S. EPA, the California Air resources Board, the Department of Energy, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and at least a dozen universities. (DOE Argonne Lab, Dec. 2012; University of Chicago, School of Integrative Biology, 9/14/15; “New Study: Biofuel Use Saved 589.3 Million Tons of Carbon Emissions Over the Past Decade,” BIO, Press Release, 8/24/15). In fact, corn ethanol has generated more than 60% of the credits to date in the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. (CARB presentation, 9/25/2014)

MYTH: “Ethanol Is More Damaging In Terms Of Air Quality” (“Inconvenient Fact,” Smarter Fuel Future, 10/15/15)

FACT: The oil industry ads rely on a 2011 study from the National Academy of Sciences to make this claim. The report conflicts with far more extensive modeling conducted by U.S. EPA and the California Air Board conducted as part of its regulatory process. In fact, using more ethanol in gasoline actually reduces emissions. The ethanol blend E15 decreases the risk of cancer by 6.6 percent, by displacing toxic emissions from regular gasoline. “Sixty-seven and half percent of the cancer risk is due to lower 1-3 butadiene, and 75 percent of vehicles showed a reduction in this pollutant. Twenty-nine percent of the cancer risk is due to lower benzene emissions, and 88 percent of vehicles showed a reduction in this pollutant. Acetaldehyde emissions increased with higher ethanol blend levels. Changes in acetaldehyde result in a predicted 0.3 percent increase in cancer risk while the risk from other listed carcinogens drops by 6.9 percent, resulting in a net decrease of 6.6 percent.” (Stefan Unnasch and Ashley Henderson, “Change in Air Quality Impacts Associated with the Use of E15 Blends Instead of E10,” Life Cycle Associates & Americans United for Change, July 2014). Finally, the NAS study cited by the oil industry is controversial, as one of its authors disclosed that the committee used inappropriate models and outdated data. (“We didn’t always use the available data, the current data.” Reuters, 10/4/2011)