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Oil: A short-term fix to a long-term problem

API, armed with a new "reality gap" report, and NCCR are back on Capitol Hill urging repeal of RFS. The only reality gap that exists is between what's best for America's long-term energy future and API's short-term, profit-driven agenda.
By Ron Kotrba | September 18, 2013

Big Oil is up to its same old tricks again as Congress continues hearings on the renewable fuel standard. This time, it’s cleverly using the government’s own energy statistics and projections to create what it says is a “reality gap” between what was projected in 2007 when RFS2 was passed, and what projections are today. 

If you look at API’s crude oil domestic production graph in its new “analysis,” none of which mentions biodiesel by the way, domestic crude oil production projections peak in 2019 and begin to fall. Newfound domestic oil reserves are short-term fixes to a long-term energy problem that RFS addresses. Congress and the American public must realize this. The only “reality gap” I see exists between what’s best for America’s long-term energy future and API’s short-term, profit-driven agenda.

Fuels America released a new poll today as Big Oil’s bedfellow, the National Council of Chain Restaurants—fast food’s lobbying voice—returns to Capitol Hill to continue its misguided anti-RFS campaign.

“Food preparation is a tough job; and things are not getting any easier for the fast food chain industry, which is facing criticism for its high profits relative to low wage practices and advertising schemes,” Fuels America states. “Despite these controversies, the NCCR has decided to focus its energy on ending the renewable fuel standard. Unfortunately for them, the bad news continues—a new poll shows that Americans not only love fast food, but they also support renewable fuel.”

The new poll shows that 87 percent of Americans believe the cost of oil/gasoline is a major factor driving food prices. Another large majority, 87 percent, agrees that fast food restaurants should support cost-saving alternative fuels. One in three (35 percent) eat fast food at least once a week. Another two in five (38 percent) say that they visit either once or several times per month. One in five (21 percent) say they eat at a fast food restaurant less than once a month and just 7 percent never eat fast food.

American consumers also support policies that promote alternative sources of energy. An overwhelming majority of Americans (92 percent) say that it’s important for the U.S. to support policies that promote alternative sources of energy, such as wind, solar, and renewable fuel, with 68 percent saying it is “very” important.

And strong majorities of Americans agree that fast food restaurants should be thinking about and incorporating alternative fuel:

-89 percent of Americans agree that restaurants that recycle their cooking oil into renewable fuel are helping to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

-87 percent of Americans believe the cost of oil/gasoline is a major factor driving food prices.

-87 percent of Americans want the fast food industry to support alternative fuels to help lower the cost of the foods they love.

-86 percent agree that fast food restaurants make large profits and should use a tiny fraction of their profits to include sustainable practices into their business models.

Fuels America concludes its press release on the new poll showing Americans support alternative fuels by saying: “Bottom Line: the NCCR’s idea that renewable fuel drives food prices is a whopper. Their own consumers understand that oil drives the cost of food and that restaurants should incorporate alternative fuel for the environment and their own wallets.”  

If Big Oil had its way, the U.S. would throw away all the significant progress made in developing alternatives in the past decade, only to have the nation find itself in the same position in 20 years when, once again, crude oil supplies are low and we’ve got nothing to show for it but an even more compromised environment and no mature alternatives. Do we really want to let Big Oil write our energy policy and have America revert back to a single-energy-source relic?