Today executives from some of the biggest restaurant chains in the United States met at a National Council of Chain Restaurants summit in Washington, DC. The issue at hand: what to do about the country’s current ethanol standards and subsidies. After a lot of consideration and deliberation with economists and legislators, the council has announced that they will be taking a much more aggressive stance from now on, advocating for ethanol policy reform on behalf of the restaurant industry.
This isn’t the first time that the restaurant industry has spoken out against current ethanol policies. In September, the NCCR released a letter asking Congress’ super-committee to repeal the 45-cent-per-gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol that are both part of current policy. The NCCR’s argument is that this emphasis on domestic ethanol production (which may lead farms to grow outsized corn crops for ethanol instead of much needed food production crops in order to collect on tax credits) has artificially driven up food prices, which in turn naturally has a negative impact on foodservice industries. But while the letter was a strong first step, the organization has now vowed to devise a sustained effort to address these issues and fight for reformed policies, especially once the current VEETC and the tariff expire at the end of December.
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“Through years of promoting ethanol as a solution to America’s energy issues, Congress has unknowingly worked to increase commodity prices on retailers throughout the supply chain,” said NCCR Executive Director Rob Green in an official statement. “These subsidies have artificially increased the price of corn, which in turn has driven up costs for restaurants and the customers they serve. Today’s meeting, the third of its type this year, will help develop a clear roadmap for the industry to engage allies on Capitol Hill in future legislative and regulatory battles.”