The Renewable Fuels Association characterized last week’s Senate votes on renewable fuel subsidies as a cauldron of confusion. In rapid succession, the Senate voted to keep ethanol tax credits through the end of the year, to repeal those tax credits immediately and then to allow federal funds to assist in the installation of ethanol refueling infrastructure like blender pumps. RFA says pundits, ethanol advocates and many others are now trying to make sense of what happened and where the debate goes from here.
Looking ahead, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen expects action on oil company tax breaks real soon. He asks, why shouldn’t those be on the table? He doesn’t understand why the only tax incentives some in the Senate are prepared to repeal are those that support farmers and ethanol.
Dinneen thinks the Senate needs, and the public will demand, a more thoughtful and comprehensive discussion about ethanol and energy policy. Dinneen poses several questions like:
How are we going to stimulate investments in next generation technologies?
How can we assure that small businesses that sell gasoline have the resources to invest in the infrastructure necessary to grow the biofuels market?
And how can we assure that OPEC can’t manipulate the market to the detriment of American ethanol and protect the investment the taxpayer has made in this important industry?