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API insists: Stakes are too high for inaction on RFS

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO, Jack Gerard, has called for an immediate waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and full repeal of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) during his testimony at a hearing before the US Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements.

In his statement, Gerard described the RFS as irreparably broken and outlined its potential to cause significant harm to consumers, the economy and the nation’s fuel supply. Most cars on the road today were not designed to use more than 10% ethanol mixed with gasoline; however, this threshold is to be breached by ever increasing ethanol mandates.

Gerard drew attention to a recent study by NERA economic consulting, which has predicted that once ethanol mandates are higher than can safely be blended into the nation’s fuel supply (known as the 10% ethanol blend wall) the cost of diesel could increase by 300% and the cost of gasoline could increase by 30% by 2015. The wider repercussions of this would be a US$ 770 billion decrease in US GDP by 2015 and a potential reduction of US$ 580 billion in American workers’ take home pay.

Testing by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) has additionally found that a blend of 15% ethanol with 85% gasoline (E15) can damage engines and cause vehicles to break down.

Gerard has insisted that it is within the EPA’s power to prevent future detrimental impacts of the mandate; by utilising its waiver authority the EPA could keep volumes below 10%.

Adapted from press release by Emma McAleavey.

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