Candidate Quotes

Ethanol is at the intersection of so many issues relevant to the U.S. and its politics: energy, the environment, national security, jobs and more. The issue has been addressed to some degree by each candidate as they campaign ahead of the Republican caucuses and primaries. Here’s what they’ve been saying.

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Age: 55

Political Experience:

U.S. House of Representatives (2007-present)

Minnesota State Senate (2003-2007)

On the Renewable Fuels Standard, wind credit and other programs:

“Because quite frankly I’d like to pull them back and let the industries to be more self-supporting and stand on their own.”

– Des Moines Register, 11/1

On energy subsidies:

“I want to pull the regulation burden back and then I don’t think we’ll need the level of subsidies we’ve had in the past. That includes all energy. I want to see a [level] federal playing field. We’ve seen what a disaster it is when the federal government picks winners and losers (referencing Solyndra). I fully believe all these [energy] industries have the capacity to stand on their own.”

– ABC News, 11/1

On Flex Fuel Vehicles:

“I talked to the ethanol industry about perhaps offering a rebate to people that $80 device that goes on a car, and then that would help the ethanol industry as well, and they could then sell the product.”

– Drake University Town Meeting, 11/17

Speaker Newt Gingrich

Age: 68

Political Experience:

Speaker of the House (1995-1999)

House Minority Whip (1989-1995)

U.S. House of Representatives (1979-1999)

On ethanol as a fuel source:

“Ethanol has been a 25-year success story of greater and greater productivity, which has kept money here at home, enriched rural communities, and made Americans safer by lowering our dependence on overseas sources of fuel.”

– Newt 2012 website

On flex fuel vehicles, ethanol tax credit:

“If they’re prepared to insist on a flex-fuel vehicle and every car in America’s capable of buying ethanol, I think the industry can stand on its own.”

– Radio Iowa, 1/25

On the Renewable Fuels Standard:

“… a renewable standard is necessary for several reasons. I recognize the role ethanol has on fueling America. It is necessary to continue.”

–, 9/29

Gov. Jon Huntsman

Age: 51

Political Experience:

U.S. Ambassador to China (2009-2011)

Governor of Utah (2005-2009)

U.S. Ambassador to Singapore (1992-1993)

On the ethanol tax credit:

“I’m not competing in Iowa for a reason. I don’t believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol … I think they destroy the global marketplace …. We probably won’t be spending a whole lot of time in Iowa. I guess I understand how the politics work there.”

– ABC News, 6/4

On alternatives to oil:

“We must break oil’s monopoly and create a truly level playing field for competing transportation fuels to enter the marketplace. This includes eliminating the subsidies and regulations that support foreign oil and inhibit domestic alternatives such as compressed natural gas (CNG), electricity, biofuels, and coal-to-liquids, which are not price-cointrolled by OPEC. Energy security, as Winston Churchill once said, ‘lies in variety and variety alone.’”


On energy independence:

“To end OPEC’s pricing and supply power and create jobs, we must increase the production of domestic energy sources.  This includes expediting the process for reviewing and approving safe, environmentally sound energy projects, including the development of North American oil and gas reserves; oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska; shale gas and oil in the U.S.; and Canadian oil sands.”


Rep. Ron Paul

Age: 76

Political Experience:

U.S. House of Representatives

(1976-1977, 1979-1985, 1997-present)

On the Renewable Fuels Standard:

“I oppose ethanol mandates because I do not think anyone should be forced to use or buy ethanol. Ethanol mandates often serve as corporate welfare for big agriculture ethanol producers. The marketplace should decide whether or not to use ethanol, and producers of ethanol have to discover if they can produce it at a price that makes good business sense.”

–, 6/26

On the ethanol tax credit:

“No appropriations and no mandates. If you try to apply those, everything’s voluntary and the consumer gets to decide which products will survive.”

– video from Iowa State Fair, 8/25

On alternative sources for ethanol:

“… we’re going to subsidize ethanol and raise corn and push up prices and all these things, and then it never dawns on them that there’s probably more ethanol in hemp than there is in corn, and they make it illegal.”

– Durham, N.H. speech, 3/24

Gov. Rick Perry

Age: 61

Political Experience:

Governor of Texas (2000-present)

Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1999-2000)

Commissioner of Agriculture of Texas (1991-1999)

Texas State House of Representatives (1985-1991)

On the Renewable Fuels Standard:

“The federal government doesn’t need to pick winners and losers. Rather, the federal government needs to get rid of all of these onerous regulations that are costing you substantial amounts of money. They need to level the playing field for everyone.”

– Des Moines Register, 8/28

On the ethanol tax credit:

“Obviously the subsidies on ethanol are going to be moving out of there. It’s a mature industry. And so the oil and gas industry has tax incentives. We need all the different energy sources that we can have out there. So let’s have the conversation about which of these are really the most appropriate ones for us to have in this country. … Do you go away from a subsidy program to a tax incentive program?”

– Des Moines Register, 8/15

On requesting a waiver from the RFS as governor of Texas:

“I hope you all understand that my request for that 50 percent waiver was based on concerns that I was hearing from the ag producers in my home state and biofuels should be an element of any plan to take this country to energy independence. … It makes sense from a national security standpoint. It makes sense from an economic standpoint, and it makes sense from an environmental standpoint.”

– Des Moines Register, 8/27

Gov. Mitt Romney

Age: 64

Political Experience:

Governor of Massachusetts (2003-2007)

On ethanol as a fuel source:

“I believe ethanol is an important part of our fuel solution, our energy solution. I supported the subsidy of ethanol to help get the industry on its feet.”

– Des Moines Register, 10/20

On the ethanol tax credit:

“I would like to see the ethanol industry continue to be successful, to grow, and to provide a growing share of America’s domestic energy sources. And how to do that? As Ross Perot used to say, ‘I’m all ears.’ … I’m not promoting new subsidies for ethanol, that ends as of December.”

– Des Moines Register, 10/20

On the Renewable Fuels Standard:

“I don’t have a specific number for you but I believe the American public ought to have the choice of blending ethanol fuels into our gasoline, ethanol mix, and we’ll encourage that to happen … some sectors of our economy may not want that to happen and they may prefer a monopoly of some other source of fuel.”

– Des Moines Register, 10/20

Sen. Rick Santorum

Age: 53

Political Experience:

U.S. Senate (1995-2007)

U.S. House of Representatives (1991-1995)

On ethanol as a fuel source:

“When you travel around the country, ethanol has a pretty bad name in a lot of areas, that, you know, this is a big boondoggle. It doesn’t work. It consumes more energy than it produces.  And so I thought, ‘Well, you know, I’ve got to find out what the truth is,’ and so I’ve done that. And I’ve been very impressed that a lot of progress has been made in the efficiency of the production process.” – Radio Iowa, 6/10

Regarding the Renewable Fuels Standard:

“I’m not going to die on that hill; I’ll leave the renewable fuel standard in place.”

– Des Moines Register, 11/1

On the ethanol tax credit:

“… the current technology is actually very efficient and so efficient that I believe they can be weaned off the subsidy.”

– Radio Iowa, 6/10



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