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The phantom fuel mandate

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

American Petroleum Institute

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a request made by the API to eliminate mandates for biofuels that do not exist, and the agency continues to fine refiners for not using them.

The API Director of Downstream and Industry Operations, Bob Greco has commented on this situation. ‘EPA’s mandate is out of touch with reality and forces refiners to pay a penalty for not using imaginary biofuels…EPA’s unrealistic mandate is effectively an added tax on making gasoline.’

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to determine the mandated volume of cellulosic biofuels /y at the projected volume available. Yet, in 2011 EPA required refineries to use 6.6 million gal. even though, according to the EPA’s own records, none were actually commercially available. On 25th May the EPA denied API’s 2011 petition for reconsideration of the mandate and continues to mandate these non-existent biofuels during 2012.

Greco commented further, ‘the fact that EPA continues to mandate these biofuels that do not exist is regulatory absurdity and bad public policy.’

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers

On 25th May the AFPM also responded to the EPA’s May 22nd decision to continue mandating cellulosic biofuels that do not exist.

AFPM President Charles T. Drevna said, ‘EPA’s decision is arbitrary and capricious. We fail to understand how EPA can maintain a requirement to purchase a type of fuel that simply doesn’t exist. Congress created a waiver provision in the RFS to address this exact situation…If EPA isn’t going to grant a waiver based on the agency’s own data that shows the fuel is not available, when does the agency think it is appropriate to exercise its waiver authority? Today’s ruling simply upholds EPA’s imposition of a backdoor gasoline tax on American consumers.’

On 20th January 2012, the API, AFPM and Western States Petroleum Association jointly filed a petition, requesting that the EPA waive the 2011 cellulosic biofuel volume mandate in its entirety due to a non-existent domestic supply of the fuel. On Tuesday last week, EPA denied the petition, even though the Agency’s own monthly summary of available volumes of cellulosic biofuels shows that none was produced in the US in 2011. 

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd

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