Farm Industry News Blog

Oil subsidies “take the cake”

The American Coalition for Ethanol and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association remind policymakers about 100 years of tax subsidies and other "gimmes" to the oil industry with a symbolic cake. The renewable fuels industry is just looking for a level playing field, particularly when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard's future.

Cake designed by Charm City Cakes.

Photo: Iowa Renewable Fuels Assn.


A cake in the shape of the U.S. Capitol topped off by an oil rig spewing $100 bills was the centerpiece of a “birthday party” commemorating the past 100 years of continuous tax subsidies for “Big Oil.” The cake was the brainchild of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) as they met with congressional representatives this week during their annual Biofuels Beltway March. About 50 ACE members attended the annual legislative fly-in. They met with policymakers, such as Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

“Today’s ‘Century of Subsidies’ birthday party was not about saying every tax subsidy the oil companies get is bad,” said Rick Schwarck, president, IRFA, and CEO, Absolute Energy, an ethanol plant near St. Ansgar, Iowa. But, it was a reminder to policy makers that Big Oil has benefited from taxpayer support for 100 years in the form of subsidies, mandates, loan guarantees and other policies. “So when the debate heats up over the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and other renewable fuels policy, the debate should be a full, fair and factual discussion that takes an honest, hard look at how federal policy has been tilted in favor of Big Oil for a century,” Schwarck said. “American consumers deserve a level playing field that does not hold back homegrown, low-cost renewable fuels options.”


ACE and IRFA encouraged Congress to protect the federal RFS to counterbalance the traditional policies and subsidies that favor petroleum. The RFS enables consumers to benefit from market access to lower cost renewable fuels like E15 and E85.


“If oil companies cannot stand on their own two feet after 100 years of clinging to certain taxpayer subsidies, Congress shouldn’t hurt American consumers by repealing the RFS, a policy that helps level the playing field with oil a little bit by giving people affordable and renewable fuel choices,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. 



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