WASHINGTON — At a meeting on Wednesday with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, delivered the message that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is working and that there is no reason for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for undifferentiated renewable fuel (primarily corn ethanol) below the levels specified in the statute. EPA is expected to issue the final RFS rule for 2014–2016 on or before Nov. 30. Dinneen said data show the U.S. ethanol industry would have no problem meeting the 15 billion gallon blending level specified by the statute.
“The latest data from the Energy Information Administration show that gasoline consumption projections for 2016 have increased. In fact, EIA expects 2016 gasoline demand to achieve a nine-year high,” said Dinneen, underscoring a recent analysis by RFA. “Our calculations show that because of the uptick in gasoline demand alone, EPA must increase the 2016 RVO by 270 million gallons.
“Additionally, the EPA significantly understated the use of E85 and non-ethanol conventional renewable fuels, including non-advanced renewable diesel and biodiesel, in its proposal. Moreover, USDA’s recent Biofuels Infrastructure Program grants will give consumers greater access to higher blends of ethanol like E85 and E15 through the installation of more than 5,000 blender pumps at 1,400 fueling stations. We provided OMB with data showing that EPA has understated the likely market for E85 and non-ethanol conventional biofuels in 2016 by at least 440 million gallons. All of this suggests there will be at least 14.7 billion gallons of undifferentiated renewable fuel blended next year. With approximately 2 billion surplus RINs credits available for refiners to use for compliance with the RFS, there is simply no reason for the EPA to lower the 2016 RVO below the statutorily imposed level of 15 billion gallons.”
Buis added, “Yesterday we impressed upon OMB the importance of moving the Renewable Fuel Standard forward, not backward. This is a policy that is creating jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, improving our environment, and one that is breaking the near monopoly Big Oil has on the liquid fuels transportation market, providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump. The data is there to prove the value of the program and it shows the RFS is doing exactly what it was intended to do.”
“This meeting was really our closing argument before the administration makes its final decision. We impressed upon OMB that the oil industry’s ‘blend wall’ narrative is simply not true. The president needs to uphold the statute,” both concluded.