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Drevna responds to RFS opinion

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

AFPM President Charles T. Drevna has responded to an editorial in The Hill by Sens. Grassley and Klobucharl who called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) ‘a cure all for the nation’s energy woes’ and has said that it ‘is actually a burden to consumers, their vehicles and the businesses trying to sell fuels the market demands.’

Comment highlights

‘The senators’ misguided claims about the oil industry’s ‘anticompetitive practices’ are unfortunately not surprising given the common misperception that big oil companies own most US gas stations. In reality, convenience stores operate more than 80% of the estimated 153 000 fuelling stations across the country and sell roughly 80% of all the fuel purchased in the country. Of these stations, nearly 60% are locally owned small businesses. To stay afloat, these business owners must remain responsive to their customers’ demands. While franchised retailers are typically contracted to offer several fuels produced by their refining partner, they retain every right to sell additional fuels that they see fit for their local market place. Despite this liberty, many choose not to sell higher ethanol blends like E15 and E81 due to low consumer demand, engine damage concerns and compatibility issues.’

‘E85 is even less palatable in the marketplace. Today, just 5% of the US light duty vehicle fleet is equipped to handle E85. Furthermore, EPA estimates that only 4% of drivers of these vehicles who have reasonable access to the fuel actually use it. This low rate highlights consumer reluctance to sue E85 when given the choice, likely due to the fact this and other ethanol fuel blends contain considerably less energy per gallon than regular gasoline.

‘Consumers consistently avoid higher ethanol blends due to decreased fuel mileage and its associated costs. Ethanol contains 33% less energy per gallon than gasoline, forcing drivers to fuel more often as the amount of ethanol in gasoline increases. This means on a cost per mile basis, fuels like E15 and E85 force drivers to spend more time and money refuelling their vehicles than when using regular gasoline. To make matters worse, the Congressional Budget Office recently concluded that if more ethanol continues to be forced into the gasoline supply, fuel prices will rise up to 26 cents per gallon by 2017.’

‘Outside of EPA’s 2014 proposal, more and more members of Congress are recognising the numerous problems associated with increasing amounts of ethanol in US gasoline. In fact, more than 220 bipartisan members of congress have expressed support for lowering the ethanol mandate in hopes of addressing the policy’s impacts on consumers, automakers, engine manufacturers and other affected industries. Like Sens. Grassly and Klobuchar, I too urge Washington to ignore special interests. The market, not Big Ethanol, should dictate what’s best for our consumers, businesses and bottom line.’

Drevna's full response piece can be read here

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd

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