Renewable Fuel Standard

tanker trucks driving by cornfields

NRF's National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR) opposes the federal Renewable Fuel Standard mandate to mix corn-based ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply because diverting corn to fuel unfairly drives up food prices for chain restaurants and their customers.

The issue 

filling up with ethanol based gasoline

The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires energy companies to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline supply each year. The requirement has created a huge demand for corn, which has dramatically increased its price as well as the price of all the animal products that use corn as feedstock. That has created price shocks for beef, dairy, pork, eggs, turkey, chicken and other foods, which has driven up costs for restaurants, retailers who sell food, and, ultimately, U.S. consumers.

Why it matters to restaurants and retailers

A PwC study commissioned by NCCR found that the ethanol mandate costs restaurants $3.2 billion a year. One franchise owner told Congress that the mandate costs his four restaurants $120,000 a year, taking away funds that could be used to open additional locations and create new jobs.

NCCR advocates to repeal ethanol mandate

sunlight through a cornfield at sunset

NCCR has led the chain restaurant industry’s efforts to have the Renewable Fuel Standard repealed, arguing that corn should be used for food rather than fuel. NCCR had repeatedly taken executives and franchise owners from member companies to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress, and has formed a coalition with restaurant companies. The coalition’s Feed Food Fairness: Take RFS Off the Menu campaign is aimed at passage of the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed that 19.9 billion gallons of biofuel be required under the program in 2019, a 3.1 percent increase from 2018. Of that amount, 15 billion gallons would come from corn-based ethanol, the same amount as this year despite NCCR’s repeated calls for a reduction. NCCR said the proposal shows that the EPA “has caved to pressure from corn and ethanol interests” and called on Congress to either repeal the mandate or reduce the amount of ethanol required.

The National Council of Chain Restaurants, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the leading organization exclusively representing chain restaurant companies. For more than 40 years, NCCR has worked to advance sound public policy that serves restaurant businesses and the millions of people they employ.

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