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API Urges Action to Protect Consumers from Broken Ethanol Policy

Reid Porter | | 202.682.8114

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2016 – EPA must do more to protect consumers from the negative effects of rising ethanol volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola told reporters in a conference call to discuss comments submitted to EPA on the 2017 biofuel volume proposal. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the American Motorcyclist Association joined the call to discuss RFS impacts on drivers, boaters and motorcyclists.

“According to AAA, summer gas prices have reached their lowest levels in over a decade,” said Macchiarola. “But the RFS mandate, which continues to increase ethanol volumes in our fuel mix, could lead to higher prices at the pump and potentially cause engine damage to many cars on the road today.

“Instead of providing relief to consumers, EPA’s biofuel proposal for 2017 moves us closer to breaching the blend wall -- the point at which the RFS requires more ethanol in the fuel supply than can be safely blended as standard E10 gasoline.

“To protect consumers and align fuels policy with market realities, EPA should set ethanol levels at no more than 9.7 percent of gasoline demand to ensure that the amount of ethanol in gasoline stays below the 10 percent blend wall. Additionally, it is imperative that we maintain fuel choices for the growing number of consumers who prefer ethanol-free gasoline.

“The broken RFS mandate has earned opposition from the Environmental Working Group, anti-hunger group ActionAid, livestock producers, owners of restaurants and convenience stores, as well as members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Grassroots advocates submitted more than 513,000 comments to EPA in opposition to the 2017 RFS proposal.

“Any policy that attracts such widespread criticism deserves action, and API is calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to fix this broken RFS policy.”

Higher ethanol blends can damage engines and fuel systems – potentially leaving drivers stranded, according to extensive testing by the auto and oil industries. The Congressional Budget Office found that market disruptions associated with E85 at statutory volumes could cause consumer gas prices to rise by 26 cents per gallon.

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 650 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.

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