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API urges White House to leave partisan politics out of biofuel mandates

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In a conference call with reporters, API’s Downstream Group Director Bob Greco yesterday announced a television, radio, and online advertising campaign asking the White House to leave politics aside as they finalise the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements and focus on what is best for consumers. Greco called on the White House to lower ethanol mandates to avoid the 10% ethanol blend wall and the potentially severe economic damage that goes along with it.

Greco said: “Unfortunately, the administration seems to be playing politics with the RFS rule instead of doing what’s best for consumers. You don’t have to be a political insider to see how the Iowa Senate race – and the White House fear of losing control on the Senate – plays into this decision”.

Greco went on to say that the group is concerned that, after first proposing to lower the ethanol mandate to better coincide with the realities of today’s gasoline consumption, EPA may raise ethanol requirements based on the specious reasoning that E85 – a mixture of up to 85% ethanol with 15% gasoline – is a workable solution.

Greco explained that E85 demand is only 0.15% of overall gasoline demand and that this lack of E85demand stands in stark contrast to consumer demand for E0 – non-ethanol gasoline – which has recently grown to 5% of gasoline demand.

“We’re also concerned by recent statements from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that the agency will raise ethanol requirements based on the latest gasoline demand figures for 2014. But refiners cannot plan for compliance with regulatory requirements that change later in the year. And when companies must comply retroactively like they will again this year, it borders on the impossible.

“EPA has shown more concern for mandating fuels for which there is no demand than it has for protecting fuels for which actual consumers have shown substantial demand. The ethanol blend wall is real, and the administration can’t use gimmicks to avert it”.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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