Client News

Sunshine State News: Presidential Candidates Must Show Commitment to Ending Ethanol Mandate

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Florida’s politicians and the Republican Party of Florida should welcome vigorous policy discussion among the presidential candidates. Florida should be a leader in flourishing substantive discussion during election cycles.

It is important that voters hear about how candidates plan to improve our healthcare system, incentivize small businesses, improve worldwide business relations and responsibly improve the environment. One particular issue that comes to mind is the federal Renewable Fuel Standard requirements. Jeb Bush has stated he would like to phase out this federal standard — which is a great idea — and Marco Rubio believes that demand for renewable fuels should be driven by the market, not government mandates.

Florida was the first of two states to repeal a state mandate requiring ethanol to be blended into fuel, but our economy is still being held hostage by a federal ethanol mandate requiring increasing amounts of corn ethanol to be blended into gasoline.

In 2013, the Florida Senate voted in favor of SB 320, which repealed the Florida Renewable Fuel Standard Act. Hawaii has since followed suit, and Pennsylvania is considering its own measure to repeal its state law. Florida’s policymakers were the first to recognize that small businesses are the bedrock of Florida’s economy and they were struggling to pay the climbing fuel costs created by this mandate.

Our states, unfortunately, must continue to comply with the federal law. Despite growing state momentum to abolish ethanol mandates, the U.S. Congress has not heeded the call on the federal level.

Additionally, ethanol blended gasoline contains less energy than pure gasoline. This means more trips to the pump alongside higher gas prices. Compensating for the increased cost of transportation and engine damage is not financially feasible for many of Florida’s small businesses. This is especially true for members of Florida’s Concrete and Products Association. These member companies rely on engines and gasoline to travel, conduct business and produce materials that build infrastructure.

We know Iowa wants to keep this requirement for the profit of their corn farmers, but meanwhile the majority of other states are paying additional money for things like groceries, small engines, animal feed, transportation, etc.

As representatives of Florida’s industries and government convene, they must once again consider the very real and pertinent ramifications of the RFS. This federal mandate hurts Floridians and businesses alike. Repealing Florida’s state ethanol mandate was a significant step in the right direction. Nevertheless, to create a more prosperous and healthy future for our state, we must now discuss how to end this mandate nationally.

Are other candidates going to address this important issue this election? Are they going to take a public stance to reform this policy or remain silent? It is our duty as American citizens to vote for the next President of the United States and we need to hear what they stand for and what they plan to do if they are elected.

Mike Murtha is president of the Florida Concrete and Products Association and member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition.

« Return to News