As a member of Florida’s Hispanic business community, I must voice my concern about federal regulations that hinder our economy’s growth. The federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is an outdated policy that has created a myriad of problems for industries that rely on fuel across our state and nation.
The RFS requires ethanol that is made from corn to be mixed into gasoline. Although up to 10 percent ethanol (E10) is safe for most cars, oil refiners are getting closer to blended levels of 15 and 83 percent ethanol (E15 and E85). Ethanol-heavy blends can cause severe damage to engines and fuel pump systems in cars that were not made to handle them.
A recent study found that RFS mandates could decrease United States GDP by $770 billion by 2015, affecting many of Florida’s businesses and consumers, while placing increased pressure on our economy. This federal mandate was intended to curb rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but has not delivered on this promise. Instead, lower GHG levels can be credited to lower demand for fuel influenced by improved technologies and an increased use of our natural gas resources.
Shouldn’t Congress be focused on fixing these types of regulations and making our economy more consumer and business friendly? Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency has taken short-term steps toward fixing the RFS by proposing to lower the volumes mandated for renewable fuels. I support this, but we need more healthy discussion on this topic as a long-term solution is needed to prevent the damaging impacts of this policy in the future.
Julio Fuentes, president, Florida Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Lake Worth