Oil industry, ethanol witnesses cite different grievances with RFS

July 18, 2018

Witnesses from the American Petroleum Institute and the Renewable Fuels Association appeared equally dissatisfied with the US Environmental Protection Agency's recently proposed 2019 biofuel quotas under the Renewable Fuel Standard at a public hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich. They also identified different underlying problems as they separately testified at the hearing on July 18.

API Senior Fuels Policy Advisor Patrick Kelly called on EPA to use its authority to issue waivers until Congress can fix what apparently is a badly broken RFS. "The primary RFS concern is the ethanol blend-wall," he said. "Serious vehicle and retail infrastructure compatibility issues continue to exist with gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol."

Three out of four cars on the road were not designed for higher ethanol blends such as E15, and history demonstrates that motorists have largely rejected E85, Kelly said. Gasoline demand increases and commercialization of biofuels that were projected when Congress expanded the RFS in 2007 have not materialized, he said in his testimony.

"Congress provided the waiver authority that EPA should use to further reduce the 2019 volumes to avoid negative impacts on America's fuel supply and prevent harm to consumers," Kelly said. API is urging EPA to not exceed 9.7% ethanol in the gasoline pool for 2019 to meet the strong demand for ethanol-free gasoline that continues to exist, he said.

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