Tag Archives: Renewable Fuel Association

With the government shutdown threatening to further delay approval of year-round sales of E15 (gasoline containing 15% ethanol), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to focus strictly on year-round E15 provisions in its forthcoming proposed rule and address RIN reform measures in a separate action.
President Trump announced last October that he was directing the EPA to complete a rulemaking to eliminate the “unnecessary and ridiculous” summertime ban on E15 before May 31. However, EPA was also planning to include “RIN reform” measures in the upcoming proposed rule. But with just 133 days remaining before the summertime prohibition on E15 sales begins, EPA is running out of time to propose, seek comment on, and finalize a rule allowing year-round E15 sales. In a letter submitted Thursday to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, RFA noted that “bifurcating” the proposal into two separate actions would greatly enhance EPA’s chances of meeting its May 31 deadline.
“Finalizing the year-round E15 rulemaking no later than May 31 will take a Herculean effort,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Therefore, we respectfully request that EPA bifurcate the rulemaking into two separate actions, moving forward immediately on the year-round E15 provisions and considering RIN reform in a subsequent and secondary action.”
The letter notes that, unlike the year-round E15 provisions, there is no deadline by which RIN reform measures must be finalized in order to allow fair and efficient operation of the market. “While we support efforts to bring more transparency to the RIN market, there is no urgency to move forward quickly with RIN reform provisions,” according to the letter. “This is particularly true as the previous uproar from refiners about ‘high RIN costs’ has been reduced to a murmur as RIN prices have collapsed to historic lows.”
Just this week, both President Trump and Administrator Wheeler pledged again to complete the rulemaking actions necessary to allow E15 to be sold this summer in conventional gasoline markets. Also this week, RFA launched an awareness campaignon E15, which includes advertising, an educational website, and a countdown clock to the summer driving season.
A copy of the January 17 letter is here.
While draft legislation recently released by Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Bill Flores (R-Texas) represents “an important first step in the debate about future fuels policy and the role of high octane fuels,” the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) cannot support the proposal because it “does not provide the long-term certainty and growth path” that America’s ethanol producers need.
That was the message delivered by RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in testimonyduring today’s House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment hearing on the Shimkus/Flores proposal, named “The 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act.” While the proposal would establish a higher octane fuel requirement (95 RON) in 2023, the draft also would sunset the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) conventional biofuel requirements after 2022.
By eliminating the RFS for conventional biofuels, “…the draft bill would destabilize the considerable progress our nation has made toward greater energy security, economic vitality, and environmental health,” Cooper testified. “We simply cannot support eliminating the RFS program, as the draft envisions, without a much stronger signal to the market that ethanol’s role in our fuel supply will continue to grow.”
While any move toward higher octane would seem on the surface to benefit ethanol—the lowest-cost and cleanest source of octane on the market—recent analysis shows that refiners could meet the demand for 95 RON gasoline without using more ethanol. “Even though ethanol is far superior to other octane boosters in terms of cost, greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, health effects, and other factors, a 95 RON standard—when paired with elimination of the RFS conventional renewable fuel requirements—would not result in increased market opportunities for ethanol,” Cooper said. “RFA strongly believes a high octane fuel standard can work in concert with—not in conflict with—the RFS.”
“While a good conversation starter, this discussion draft does not provide the long-term certainty and growth path that America’s renewable fuel producers, farmers, automakers, and consumers need,” Cooper testified. “With proper oversight and implementation, the RFS can work in tandem with a high-octane standard to continue to drive innovation, support rural economies, and provide cleaner and cheaper fuel choices at the pump well beyond 2022,” he added.
A copy of Cooper’s prepared testimony is here.
More than 24 million vehicles on U.S. roads today are flex fuel vehicles (FFV), capable of running on fuel blends containing up to 85 percent ethanol (E85). Can your vehicle use a cleaner, higher octane flex fuel? The Renewable Fuels Association has updated its annual FFV brochure to help consumers find out. The brochure compiles the FFV models available in the current model year (MY2019), as well as previous years going back as far as MY1998.
According to the brochure, for MY2019, Ford/Lincoln/Mercury led the pack with 12 FFV models available, followed by General Motors with 11 FFV models available and FCA (Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep) with five models. Additionally, automakers Mercedes-Benz offers two, while Nissan and Toyota each offer one. All of the data used in the brochure was collected directly from the automakers.
“There are now approximately 4,500 retail stations throughout the country that offer E85 or other ethanol flex fuel blends, at least 500 more than last year and growing every week,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “This new brochure will help educate consumers about FFV availability, putting them in the driver’s seat when it comes to fuel choice. E85 is a cleaner, higher octane fuel and more consumers are gaining access to the fuel every year,” he added.
Consumers can locate E85 stations to fuel their FFVs at E85prices.com, and also view what pricing experiences other users have reported.
RFA offers hard copies of the brochure to fuel retailers and member companies at no cost. To view a copy of the brochure, click here.