The list of controversial energy issues in Washington is a long one. But none may be as complicated to understand and difficult to resolve as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a U.S. mandate that gasoline and diesel fuel contain specified amounts of ethanol and other biofuels.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Dr. Jim Stock to discuss this complex policy and its future. Jim is the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University, a former chair of the Harvard Economics Department and a non-resident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. Jim also served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2014, where his portfolio included the RFS.
Bill and Jim spoke just days after a May 8 meeting at the White House where President Trump, senators from Iowa, Texas and Pennsylvania, and the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture reached a tentative deal that would resolve a longstanding dispute between oil refiners and the biofuels industry, especially producers of corn-based ethanol. But the devil’s in the details, as Jim says on the podcast. And as Bill and Jim met, the Trump administration had not yet explained how it would follow up on the meeting.
For related reading, we invite you to check out Jim's recent paper, “Reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard”, published in February 2018 with the Center on Global Energy Policy.