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Gerard: EPA must do more to protect consumers from high ethanol mandates

Carlton Carroll | 202.682.8114 |

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2015 – EPA must do more to ensure Americans have access to fuels they want and can safely use in their vehicles until Congress can repeal or significantly reform the outdated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), API President and CEO Jack Gerard said following EPA’s release of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 RFS mandates Monday.

“EPA has taken a significant step in the right direction by using its waiver authority to lower ethanol mandates, acknowledging the market limitations of the ethanol blend wall,” Gerard said. “However, the agency must do more to protect consumers. EPA’s final rule relies on unrealistic increases in sales of higher ethanol fuel blends despite the fact that most cars cannot use them. Motorists have largely rejected these fuels.”

The Congressional Budget Office found that consumers could see rising fuel prices if EPA attempts to force more than 10 percent ethanol into gasoline. API asked EPA to set the final ethanol mandate to no more than 9.7 percent of gasoline demand to help avoid the 10 percent ethanol blend wall while meeting strong consumer demand for ethanol-free gasoline.

“It’s confusing that the administration is pushing corn ethanol at the same time they pursue a climate agenda in Paris to lower greenhouse gas emissions,” Gerard said. “Data from EPA, Environmental Working Group, and numerous academics show corn ethanol emits more greenhouse gases than gasoline. Furthermore, the White House recently assigned the environmental benefits of the RFS at $0 but the economic costs as high as $595 million annually.

“Finally, we are concerned that EPA is mandating more biodiesel for 2014 and 2015. Obviously, refiners have already made their compliance decisions for these years. EPA needs to provide the 14 month lead time specifically required by Congress before increasing biodiesel mandates.

“Today’s announcement makes clear that, in order to protect consumers, Congress must step in to repeal or significantly reform the RFS. Members on both sides of the aisle agree this program is a failure, and we are stepping up our call for Congress to act.”

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 30 million Americans.