Fuels & Renewable Policy
Since the inception of the ethanol mandate a decade ago, the United States has undergone an energy transformation from a nation of energy dependence and scarcity to one of energy security and abundance. America has significantly increased domestic crude oil production and transitioned from a net importer of refined petroleum products to a net exporter. It is well past time to reform outdated energy policies to reflect the energy realities of today and tomorrow.
Today, most gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol by volume. However, if the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements continue to be implemented, our nation could exceed this level of ethanol in the fuel mix. Extensive testing by the automotive and oil industries shows higher ethanol blends may result in damaged engines and fuel systems for owners of the overwhelming majority of cars as well as boats, lawnmowers and other gasoline engines. Automakers have warned these increased blends of ethanol could void car warranties. Increased RFS volumes could also cost consumers money and choice, and threaten far higher costs in the form of engine damage.
Simply stated, the RFS mandate creates potential harm to the American consumer.
API commissioned an analysis prepared by Covington & Burling to better understand the market behavior and consumer impacts of EPA’s proposed reforms. The report makes clear that the administration’s reform proposal for biofuels credits, known as Renewable Identification Numbers or RINs, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), both misdiagnose the problem and provide misguided and counterproductive cures.
On May 18, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released its Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017 and the Biomass Based Diesel Volume for 2018. As policymakers and the public consider this proposal, it is important to provide an overview of current Renewable Fuel Policy and a roadmap for fundamental policy change. Renewable Fuels have been mandated under federal law for over a decade, and our current renewable fuels policy is outdated, and ineffective. Government fuel blending requirements are constraining free market forces, supporting uneconomic activity, and limiting consumer choice.
Only six out of 100 cars on the road today can even use E85.