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AFPM and API file petition for partial waiver of 2014 RFS volumes

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) have filed a joint petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a partial waiver of the 2014 applicable volumes of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

AFPM is calling on EPA to exercise its authority to waive the 3.35 billion gal from the 18.15 billion gal 2014 renewable fuel mandate. API Downstream Group Director, Bob Greco, has suggested that the move is designed to protect consumers and the US economy.

Exceeding the 10% ethanol blendwall could cause severe economic harm. Beyond 10%, the corrosive nature of ethanol renders the blended fuel incompatible with engines, vehicles and multi billion dollar infrastructure in place across the US.

According to studies by the Coordinating Research Council, E15 can damage engines and cause vehicles to break down.

AFPM argues that waiving 2014 volumes is the only way to mitigate the potentially disastrous implications of the blendwall.

AFPM President Charles Drevna said in a press release that ‘the negative impacts of the RFS will be extreme and will undoubtedly hurt consumers. If EPA does not act, the inability to blend the statutory mandated amount of ethanol could lead to domestic fuel supply shortages and ultimately cause severe economic harm to consumers and the economy’.

Analysis by NERA Economic Consulting indicates that unrealistic RFS mandates could lead to a decrease in domestic fuel supplies, driving up transportation fuel costs. Diesel prices could increase by as much as 300%, and gasoline costs by 30% by 2015.

Unless the RFS volumes required by statute are waived, NERA predicts a US$ 270 billion decline in GDP in 2014, which will grow to US$ 770 billion in 2015.

‘EPA has the opportunity to curtail the harmful effects of the policy next year by waiving the 2014 volumes before more economic damage is done’, insisted Drevna.

‘EPA missed a golden opportunity to address the ethanol blendwall in 2013; however, we’re encouraged the Agency recognised there is a problem in its rule setting this year’s biofuel requirement. This petition will provide a roadmap for the Agency to follow as it promulgates its 2014 waiver’.

Greco has emphasised that this should be only the first step towards full repeal of the standard. ‘While a waiver for 2014 will provide short term relief from the RFS mandate, the program is outdated and needs to be repealed once and for all.’

‘Under the current RFS regime, ethanol requirements will continue to increase while gasoline demand continues to decline. That’s why we need a full repeal by Congress’.

Adapted from press releases by Emma McAleavey.

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