Let's start by stating that even the EPA admits that the US may have hit the blend wall, the point where we just can't use any more biofuel, despite laws that require biofuel producers to keep on making it. In fact, when the agency announced the 2013 level for the Renewable Fuel Standards – 16.55 billion gallons – it said that it may try to get the Clean Air Act changed so that biofuel producers in the US aren't making more than we can use. The biofuel level has consistently increased by around 1-2 billion gallons a year the last five years.

But now here comes Big Oil (represented by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute), ready to fight to reduce the trend. Instead of getting to 18.5 billion gallons in the 2014 (aka RFS2 standards, as will ge required, the oil industry is petitioning the EPA to instead set the level at just over 14.8 billion gallons. Ethanol Producer calls this a "significant" decrease. Big Oil says it's just smart, and that the lower level is "necessary to avoid the severe economic harm that will result from exceeding the 10 percent ethanol blendwall." The joint PR statement, available below, also says that higher concentrations of ethanol are "incompatible with today's engines, vehicles and the multi-billion dollar infrastructure in place throughout the nation." Thus, "The negative impacts of the RFS will be extreme and will undoubtedly hurt consumers."

They even put a number on that hurt. The two groups say if the "unrealistic requirements" of the RFS take effect, domestic fuel supplies will decrease and, "large increases in transportation fuel costs will ripple through the economy and impose significant costs on society. Unless the RFS volumes required by statute are waived, NERA predicts a $270 billion decline in GDP in 2014, which will grow to $770 billion in 2015."

"It is time that oil companies and special interests stop worrying about maintaining their monopolistic practices and allow competition and choice in the marketplace."

The biofuel industry point out that Big Oil is on thin ground here, saying that neither the AFPM or API have standing to petition the EPA, since the Clean Air Act, "clearly states that waiver must be filed by a state government or an obligated party to prompt EPA action. As trade organizations, neither the AFPM nor API fits that definition." Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis went further, telling Ethanol Producer, "It is time that oil companies and special interests stop worrying about maintaining their monopolistic practices and allow competition and choice in the marketplace. Not only should we provide consumers a choice and savings at the pump, we must stop putting our eggs in one basket when it comes to a national energy policy."
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AFPM Files Petition for Partial Waiver of 2014 RFS Volumes
RFS Blendwall Will Cause Severe Harm to Consumers and Economy


Washington, DC (PRWEB) August 13, 2013

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a joint-petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a partial waiver of the 2014 applicable volumes of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

AFPM is calling on EPA to exercise its authority to waive the 3.35 billion gallons from the 18.15 billion gallon 2014 renewable fuel mandate. This action is necessary to avoid the severe economic harm that will result from exceeding the 10 percent ethanol blendwall. Beyond 10 percent, the corrosive nature of ethanol renders the blended fuel incompatible with today's engines, vehicles and the multi-billion dollar infrastructure in place throughout the nation. Waiving the 2014 volumes is the only available solution to avert the potentially disastrous implications of the blendwall.

"The negative impacts of the RFS will be extreme and will undoubtedly hurt consumers. If EPA does not act, the inability to blend the statutory-mandated amount of ethanol could lead to domestic fuel supply shortages and ultimately cause severe economic harm to consumers and the economy," said AFPM President Charles T. Drevna.

Analysis conducted by NERA Economic Consulting has shown that the RFS and its unrealistic mandates will cause economic harm to the nation. As domestic fuel supplies decrease due to the unrealistic requirements of the RFS, large increases in transportation fuel costs will ripple through the economy and impose significant costs on society. Unless the RFS volumes required by statute are waived, NERA predicts a $270 billion decline in GDP in 2014, which will grow to $770 billion in 2015.

"EPA has the opportunity to curtail the harmful effects of the policy next year by waiving the 2014 volumes before more economic damage is done," said Drevna. "I expect it will take American families into consideration when it makes its decision.

"EPA missed a golden opportunity to address the ethanol blendwall in 2013; however, we're encouraged the Agency recognized there is a problem in its rule setting this year's biofuel requirement. This petition will provide a roadmap for the Agency to follow as it promulgates its 2014 waiver," continued Drevna.


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