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Bipartisan opposition to Renewable Fuel Standard proposal

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Representative Bill Flores (Texas-17) and 183 other members of Congress sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concerns over the proposed 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements. According to API, EPA’s proposal would threaten consumers and the economy by raising ethanol mandates to potentially harmful levels.

“There’s growing, bipartisan recognition in Congress of the negative consequences that higher ethanol mandates could have on consumers, including unexpected auto repair bills and potential harm to our nation’s economy,” said API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco after the letter was released. “The administration seems poised to pursue a careless rush to raise ethanol volumes regardless of costs to consumers and our economy. EPA appears to be putting politics ahead of sound policy.”

The refining industry is near hitting the ethanol blend wall, above which the amount of ethanol required to be blended under the RFS could be unsafe for most vehicles on the road today, according to API. Millions of cars could be damaged by fuel blends that contain more than 10% ethanol, according to studies by the Coordinating Research Council, and automakers have said using higher ethanol blends would void car warranties.

Higher ethanol mandates could also cause severe fuel rationing that would lead to a 30% decrease in the US fuel supply and decrease the take-home pay of American workers, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting.

“We urge EPA to reduce the total ethanol renewable fuels volume requirements for 2016 to below 9.7% of gasoline demand to protect consumers and our economy,” Greco said. “This will keep us below the 10% ethanol blend wall while allowing consumers the option of buying non-ethanol gasoline if they want it.”

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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