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API and AFPM tell EPA to put consumers first when setting ethanol mandates

Carlton Carroll | 202.682.8114 |

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2015 – In joint comments on proposed Renewable Fuel Standard requirements, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuels & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) say EPA’s assumptions of growing demand for high-ethanol fuel blends are simply wrong.  The groups ask EPA to limit ethanol mandates to no more than 9.7 percent of total gasoline demand.

“High ethanol blends – such as E15 and E85 – that EPA is pushing are not compatible with most cars on the road today, and they could potentially put American consumers and their vehicles at risk,” API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco told reporters during a news conference.  “Consumers have shown they have little to no interest in purchasing increasing amounts of high ethanol fuels.  Consumers’ interests should come ahead of ethanol interests.”

Most cars are only approved by the manufacturer to use ethanol blends of 10 percent or less, Greco explained. Extensive testing by the auto and oil industries shows that higher ethanol blends can damage engines and fuel systems – potentially leaving drivers stranded. 

Only six out of every 100 cars can use E85, and even those motorists have largely rejected the fuel, according to API. Ethanol has less energy than gasoline, so a tank of E85 – a fuel blend of up to 85 percent ethanol with 15 percent gasoline – will lower vehicle mileage and increase the number of fill-ups necessary.  According to data from the Department of Energy, E85 costs more money in the long term because of its lower fuel economy.

“AFPM supports EPA’s decision to use its waiver authority to adjust the 2014 and 2015 volumes, said AFPM Executive Vice President Brendan Williams. “However, we strongly disagree with the volumes set for 2016, which will break the 10 percent blend wall. EPA relies on overly ambitious estimates for how much ethanol consumers want in their gas tanks.  Consumers do not want the federal government making decisions for them on the types of fuels they buy.”

In 2014, E85 demand remained flat at just 0.15 percent of gasoline demand, while E0 represented nearly 7 percent of demand – up from 3.4 percent in 2012, according to Energy Information Administration data compiled by API.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans.