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Politics

Fix Renewable Fuel Standard

September 3, 2013 - 6:00pm

Americas small businesses have seen the number of demands placed upon us by regulators at every level of government grow at a rate limited only by ability of various taxing agencies to take our money and turn it against us.

In the past several years, punishing regulations have caused significant and detrimental changes for both industry and consumers. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is one such policy that benefits only those with a financial interest in the mandate. Its influence on the energy industry and the economy as a whole is negative. As a mechanical engineer in Jacksonville specializing in fuels and combustion, I understand the consequences of this energy policy and have seen the damage it inflicts on gasoline fuel systems.

The RFS mandates the increased use of ethanol in fuel, but as we add more of this byproduct to our gasoline, many known problems are surfacing, yet regulators turn a blind eye as long as the ethanol lobby money keeps rolling in. This fuel has ruined at least three of my injector systems and it could do the same to engines and fuel systems in millions of cars on the road today.

In addition to paying for expensive car repairs, we will also see an increase in gasoline prices with reduced mileage per gallon. According to a recent National Economic Research Associates study, the restrictions the RFS places on fuel suppliers could result in a 30 percent increase in gasoline costs. This could reduce U.S. GDP by an estimated $770 billion in the next two years.

Our economy is still in recovery and business owners and consumers should not have to bear the weight of outdated policy decisions. In order to curb the negative effects of this policy, it is important that Congress finds a solution that makes sense and puts our businesses, families and economic well-being first. This country deserves energy policies that allow its citizens to thrive for years to come, instead of lining the pockets of special interest groups at the expense of national economic growth.

Stephen Chastain is a mechanical engineer and author who lives in Jacksonville.

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