Biofuels, a winner or loser in Iowa Caucuses? Opinions sharply divide

February 7, 2016 |

In Iowa, the America’s Renewable Future advocacy group said that 83% of voters supported candidates who recognized that the RFS is crucial to over 852,000 American jobs, our lowered dependence on foreign oil, and consumers’ choice at the pump for a clean, less expensive fuel.

“83 percent of Iowans supported pro-RFS candidates in 2016. In contrast with 2012’s caucus a higher share of the vote went to pro-RFS candidates.” said Eric Branstad, ARF State Director

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done in educating candidates on the benefits of the RFS and that the vast majority of them were good on the issue or moved to be good,” added Branstad. “Considering that when we started only two Republicans were known supporters of the RFS and we ended with nine out of 11 in the pro column and 12 candidates out of the 14 total. We’re incredibly proud of the success we’ve had with candidates recognizing the benefits to our economy, national security, and environment and its something that will be key in the General Election.”

ARF offered the following analysis of votes:

2012 Anti-RFS:
Ron Paul: 21.5%
Rick Perry: 10.4%
Michele Bachmann: 5%
Total: 36.9%

2016 Anti-RFS:
Ted Cruz: 27.7%
Rand Paul: 4.5%
Total: 32.2%

Yet, Time magazine reported that “Ethanol Is No Longer the Third Rail of the Iowa Caucus,” adding that in the 2016 campaign, ethanol isn’t what it used to be.” And the National Review noted that “Cruz didn’t court, kowtow to, or bow down before King Corn” in winning the Iowa Caucuses.

Who’s right? Perhaps a blend of the two. As Democratic political strategist Paul Tewes told, ““Big oil is going to want to claim victory. But their No. 1 guy moved closer to ethanol and further away from oil.” Tewes notes that Cruz was forced to move from calling for immediate repeal of the RFS to a phase-out after 2022, and an elimination of the ethanol blend wall and an end to oil and gas subsidies.

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Category: Policy

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