Ethanol polls show strong RFS support, refuting API ‘push poll’

By Susanne Retka Schill | April 07, 2017

Ethanol advocates were quick to counter the most recent poll from the American Petroleum Institute with their own. The API poll released April 7 shows “consumers are concerned the Renewable Fuel Standard could hurt their pocketbooks,” according to the API news release.

“Sixty-eight percent of registered voters are concerned about the government requiring increased amounts of ethanol in gasoline and 74 percent agree that federal regulations could contribute to increased costs at the pump,” said API downstream group director Frank Macchiarola. “Consumers have spoken loud and clear. The results of a new national API poll on the ethanol mandate send another strong signal to policymakers that RFS reform is desperately needed.”

API further said 70 percent of voters think the use of more corn for ethanol could increase food prices; 59 percent oppose moving the point of obligation and just 20 percent support the change; and 75 percent are concerned about government requirements that could breach the blend wall.  

The Renewable Fuels Association called the API poll a push poll where questions are framed to be biased against the biofuels program. The RFA countered with the results of its own survey conducted by Morning Consult at about the same time as Harris Poll conducted the API survey. The RFA’s survey found that 58 percent of those polled support the RFS, with only 17 percent opposed – a  more than 3:1 margin of support for the RFS.

“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,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “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.”

“It’s no wonder that API, which represents petroleum producers, wants to obfuscate the success of a program that boosts the production and use of renewable fuel. Consumers want a choice at the pump and the RFS helps ensure that choice exists. API can release all the push polls it wants, but the truth speaks for itself,” Dinneen added.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor also said the API poll was designed “to obscure strong public support for homegrown fuels.”

“API’s reoccurring push polls rely on misinformation and leading questions to get the answers Big Oil wants to hear,” Skor said in a statement. “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 ten battleground voters shared President Trump’s support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard,” she said, referring to a post-election poll conducted by Quadrant Strategies.   

“Consumers and voters alike appreciate that homegrown biofuels protect the environment, improve our energy security, and deliver savings at the gas pump. And the market agrees. More and more retailers are offering higher biofuel blends to their customers, and those retailers report rapidly growing sales of blends like E15. That growth is not only good for drivers, it’s good for communities looking to policymakers for support during the worst downturn in farm income since the Great Depression.”