API: EPA’s Proposal to Lower Biofuel Volume Is a Step in the Right Direction, but RFS Proposal Reaffirms Need for Legislative Reform
The American Petroleum Institute (API) welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposal to slightly lower the total biofuel volume for 2018, but says that move does not go far enough. API has called for congressional reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) because the primary goals of the RFS have been achieved, not by ethanol mandates, but also market forces and technological innovations, leaving the policy with only hypothetical benefits and added costs to consumers.
“Studies show that higher ethanol volumes under the RFS would raise fuel costs for consumers and damage car engines,” said API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola. “Today’s proposal reaffirms the importance of RFS reform, as it is essential that Americans have access to fuels they want and can safely use in their vehicles. Congress must fix this broken, outdated program.”
Higher ethanol blends, such as E15, can damage engines and fuel systems, according to extensive testing by the auto and oil industries—potentially forcing drivers to pay for costly repairs. The Congressional Budget Office found that consumer gas prices could rise by up to 26 cents per gallon unless EPA lowers RFS mandates. API is urging EPA to set the final ethanol mandate at no more than 9.7% of gasoline demand to help avoid the 10% ethanol blend wall and meet strong consumer demand for ethanol-free gasoline.
“The RFS mandate is bad for consumers, and it’s clear that the solution is for Congress to significantly reform this mandate. Members on both sides of the aisle agree this program is a failure, and we are stepping up our call for Congress to act.”
When the RFS mandate was revised in 2007, fuel imports and costs were on the rise, making the mandated use of corn-based ethanol seem like a viable option to lower both while reducing emissions. In the last few years, petroleum consumption derived from imports reached its lowest level since 1970.
America has transitioned from a net importer of refined petroleum products to a net exporter. Today, we are the world’s largest producer and refiner of oil and natural gas and we are leading the world in reducing carbon and other emissions. We need to reform outdated energy policies to reflect the energy realities of today and tomorrow.
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8% of the U.S. economy.