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Rep. Davis Leads Bipartisan Call to Ramp Up US Biofuel Production

April 4, 2022 by Dan McCue
Rep. Davis Leads Bipartisan Call to Ramp Up US Biofuel Production
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) speaks during a hearing before the House Administration Committee on January 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, led over two dozen members of Congress, of both parties, in urging President Joe Biden to boost domestic biofuel production as a replacement for Russian energy imports.

In a letter to the president, Davis and his colleagues said that in order to ensure a federal ban on Russian oil and gas imports are sustainable, homegrown, renewable biofuels must be part of the equation.

Specifically, the members want the president to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to permanently reinstate the year-round availability of E15, and to reverse course on proposed retroactive reductions to 2020 and 2021 Renewable Volume Obligations that they say hurt farmers and producers. 

“Taken together, these actions would significantly increase U.S. energy independence, lower prices at the pump and ensure the continued success of our sanctions on the Russian economy,” Davis and the members wrote.


In their letter, the members said they support the decision to ban imports of Russian oil and natural gas into the United States and argued that a renewed emphasis on renewable fuels would lower fuel prices for American consumers by more than $12 billion annually, generate substantial economic growth in rural communities and significantly decrease American dependence on all foreign oil producers.

They also noted that polls show actions to increase U.S. energy independence in light of Russian aggression are overwhelmingly supported by the American public. 


For instance, they pointed to a recent Morning Consult poll indicating 72% of Americans support increasing the availability of E15 as a way to replace Russian oil imports, and 83% of Americans support increasing domestic renewable fuel production — which includes renewable biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel — in the U.S. as a strategy to lower fuel prices.

But in the end, it was economics and the stubborn rise of inflation that they underscored to make their case.

“Ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable diesel add to the nation’s fuel supply, lowering prices at the pump for nearly every consumer good that moves along the supply chain,” they wrote. “Over the last decade, wholesale ethanol has saved consumers 17% when compared to wholesale gasoline. 

“A recent report indicated that a nationwide shift to E15 could collectively save U.S. consumers more than $12 billion annually. And according to a recent World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services study, availability of biodiesel and renewable diesel has saved consumers an average of 31 cents per gallon at the pump over the last 10 years,” they said.

“These actions would generate economic growth in rural communities that would reduce the impact of inflation on Americans’ pocketbooks. For example, ensuring the year-round availability of E15 would support an additional 182,600 jobs and generate an additional $17.8 billion in economic activity,” they said, adding, “Because ethanol production involves U.S. farmers and processing plants located in rural communities, these benefits would be most directly felt in rural America.”


Among those who joined Davis in signing the letter were Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., Cynthia Axne, D-Iowa, Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Adrian Smith, R-Neb.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMc

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