Sixty-four percent of Americans support RFS, subsidies to fund expansion of cellulosic ethanol technologies, finds Renewable Fuels Assn. poll; CEO cites RFS' role in creating jobs, cleaner environment, more energy independence

LAS VEGAS , February 6, 2013 (press release) – For the second year in a row, national polling presented today at the National Ethanol Conference proved Americans, by an overwhelming majority, support the key federal policy driving renewable fuel innovation in America today — the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In a poll commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and conducted by American Viewpoint, 64 percent of adults polled said they supported the RFS, while just 25 percent are opposed.

“Clearly and demonstrably, Americans believe that the Renewable Fuel Standard is an important federal policy that results in more energy independence, more job creation, and a cleaner environment. They see the value of the RFS in strengthening America, now and in the future” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “This polling tells us there is a widely held distaste for the billions in support that the oil industry receives from the federal government as well as a strong desire to move away from foreign oil. Americans want fuel choice at the pump and at the auto dealer. Investment in future biofuels made from a variety of non-traditional products like wood chips and grasses is of keen interest to them.”

The poll was commissioned by RFA and conducted by American Viewpoint. The poll was conducted via telephone January 24-28, 2013 with a sample size of 1,000 adults. Margin of error in the poll is +/- 3.1 percent. Approximately 30 percent of respondents were contacted by cell phone.

In presenting these findings, Linda DiVall, President of American Viewpoint, highlighted:

“The ethanol industry has been confronted with many challenges — a lack of awareness, a very powerful opposition that is perpetuating myths, and an uneven playing field with Big Oil. Interestingly, American consumers overwhelmingly favor an end to Big Oil subsidies, which would place these two deliverers of energy on a more equal playing ground.

“The ethanol industry has a compelling narrative to advance to consumers — it significantly reduces greenhouse gases, lowers our dependence on foreign oil, creates quality jobs, reduces fuel costs for Americans, and is serving to advance further innovations in renewable fuels,” DiVall said.

Dinneen concluded, “These are powerful public opinion numbers and we are anxious to share them with our supporters in Congress, in the Administration, and the general public. It is time for Big Oil to get out of the way of progress. Americans are clearly interested in fuel choices that are made by Americans for Americans using renewable sources and with money-saving, environmentally-friendly benefits.”

The following are the exact questions posed to poll respondents and the results.

As you may know, there is currently a renewable fuels standard that requires a certain amount of the fuel produced each year to come from ethanol, bio-diesel and other renewable sources that aren't fossil fuels in order to reduce foreign oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions. Do you favor or oppose this requirement?

Favor: 64%
Oppose: 25%
Don’t Know: 10%

Some have considered the government giving incentives to help fund the expansion of a new technology known as Cellulosic ethanol, which is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses and other non-edible parts of plants. Do you favor or oppose these incentives?

Favor: 64%
Oppose: 24%
Don’t Know: 11%

As you may know, oil companies receive four to five billion dollars in government subsidies and special tax treatment and incentives for things like equipment depreciation, oil depletion allowances, and foreign investment tax credits for taxes they pay in foreign countries. Do you favor or oppose these tax incentives?

Favor: 25%
Oppose: 63%
Don’t know: 11%

Do you favor or oppose requiring automobile manufacturers to build cars that will run on fuel sources other than oil, such as electricity, natural gas and bio-fuels?

Favor: 76%
Oppose: 20%
Don’t Know: 4%

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