EPA biofuel plan will negatively impact restaurants

By National Restaurant Association


The National Restaurant Association recently submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the proposed multi-year biofuel fuel volumes included in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program. The Association stressed the negative impact increasing biofuel volumes would have on the price and availability of vegetable oils for the food industry.

“The Association believes increasing biofuel volumes will have damaging effects on the supply chain, restaurants, and consumers,” said Laura Abshire, National Restaurant Association Director of Food and Sustainability Policy. “We have seen similar increases in the past cause significant harms on the cost and supply of the food that restaurants’ rely on to serve millions of Americans daily in communities across the country.”

In 2005, the establishment of the RFS Program diverted corn crops away from food and feed production to renewable fuels and resulted in significantly higher prices and increased market volatility. From 2021 to 2022, 40% of U.S. soybean production was used for biofuels—resulting in historically high prices—and the International Energy Agency projects the use of vegetable oil for biofuel production is expected to increase 46% in the coming years.

The EPA’s current proposal puts the industry in harm’s way again by further increasing biofuel volumes in 2023 through 2025. With the need for renewable biofuels already high, the multi-year volumes proposed could further increase demand, upending the availability and price of cornerstones of the food industry, like soybean and vegetable oils.

“Restaurants are uniquely vulnerable to fluctuations in food prices as they already operate on razor-thin margins,” said Abshire. “Restaurants and consumers are already facing unprecedented inflation and this proposal would leave restaurant operators with no choice but to increase menu prices. The Agency should take this opportunity to reduce the competition between food and fuel, providing much needed relief for food manufacturers, small businesses, and consumers.”

The complete comments by the National Restaurant Association can be found here(Opens in a new window).

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