API, other groups urge EPA to reconsider biofuel quotas

The US Environmental Protection Agency should reconsider its recently issued biofuel quotas because they serve the fuel ethanol lobby’s interests instead of consumers, officials from the American Petroleum Institute and other organizations declared (OGJ Online, May 29, 2015).

“Consumer interests should come ahead of ethanol interests,” API Pres. Jack N. Gerard told reporters during a June 17 teleconference that also included Wayne Allard, vice-president of government affairs at the American Motorcyclist Association; Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group; and Rob Green, executive director of the National Council of Chain Restaurants.

“The high ethanol levels EPA is pushing are not compatible with most cars…on the road today, which use blends of 10% ethanol or less. Higher blends could leave motorists stranded,” said Gerard.

“EPA also has suggested that if refiners sell more E85, they would be able to meet their renewable fuel obligations,” Gerard said. “The problem is that most consumers don’t want E85. Demand for it remained flat at 0.15% of gasoline demand in 2014.”

Allard noted, “We’re concerned because we see government mandates instead of market conditions driving ethanol levels to a point higher than what motorcycles require. EPA has ignored a key factor we see: the doubling of demand for E-zero, which small engine owners and motorcyclists prefer.”

White said, “Our real concern is that this recent EPA proposal is a missed opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our lakes and bays. It simply would increase the use of corn ethanol, which is the one thing more damaging to the environment than petroleum.”

Green added, “EPA is still all-in for corn ethanol. The current proposal will cost restaurants and American consumers millions of dollars per year.”

Their remarks came a day after US Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced a bill to repeal the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which gives EPA authority to set biofuel quotas. They also spoke a day before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management Subcommittee’s scheduled hearing on EPA’s management of the RFS program.

“Interest in the RFS is growing on Capitol Hill for a variety of different reasons similar to what we’ve mentioned today,” Gerard said. “There are consumer impacts, effects on refining, and consequences for the automobile and other industries. I think a lot of different people are speaking out now.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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