The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (APFM) issued the following
statement in response to the
Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to set the required
volumes for the federal ethanol mandate in 2014, which recognizes and seeks to
mitigate the harmful impact of exceeding the E10 blendwall:
recognition of the blendwall and the potential adverse effects on consumers is
a welcome step, however greater reductions in the biofuel mandate are necessary
if consumers are to avoid all the detrimental impacts of the statute.
Additionally, EPA’s actions can only be short-term in nature and point to the
need for Congress to work quickly in addressing the severely flawed and totally
outdated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The RFS requires
quantities of biofuel to be consumed that are well beyond the technical
limitations of many engines in service today. The vast majority of existing
vehicles and infrastructure cannot handle a gasoline supply containing more than
ten percent ethanol (“E10”), which leads to what is referred to as the “E10
blendwall.” Our nation’s gasoline supply is currently maxed out at E10,
indicating we have reached this “blendwall” and cannot use more ethanol without
threatening consumer engines and refueling infrastructure.
In its Aug.
2013 waiver request, AFPM petitioned for a 9.7 percent cap on ethanol in
gasoline and continues to believe that this is the minimum waiver necessary to
promote liquidity in the RIN market, retain a supply of pure gasoline required
for some engines, and account for historical differences between EIA
projections of gasoline demand and actual demand.
that EPA must issue a waiver – and will need to continue waiving the ethanol
mandate under the RFS in future years – is strong evidence that the program is
broken,” said AFPM President Charles T. Drevna. “While we still believe that
even further reductions are necessary and warranted, EPA’s proposal
acknowledges the adverse consumer impacts associated with the RFS. The basic
fact remains that the agency’s action is little more than triage applied to a
program that requires legislative surgery,” he added.
In addition, EPA’s
proposed requirement of 17 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel is
unrealistic. Even the low end of the proposed range represents more than
an 800 percent increase from the amount of cellulosic fuel that was actually
produced in 2013. EPA’s methodology used to predict the volume of
cellulosic fuel is flawed in that it incorporates the biased estimates of the
cellulosic producers themselves.
“While we are
pleased that EPA has taken steps to avoid the blendwall in 2014, we remain
concerned that the proposed rule leaves open the possibility that the biofuel
mandates will exceed the maximum amount of ethanol that can be safely added to
our gasoline supply. We also remain concerned that the agency continues to set
cellulosic biofuel mandates at aspirational levels that are divorced from
reality. Consumers should be shielded from the costs of an overly aggressive
biofuel mandates and Congress should address this issue immediately before this
unworkable law does further damage,” Drevna continued.
required by the Clean Air Act to promulgate volumes for 2014 by November 30,
2013. In 2013, the Agency was nine months late and the rule was made
retroactive back to January 1, causing uncertainty in the transportation fuels
markets. In addition, EPA was required to set the
biomass-based diesel volume for 2014 by October 30, 2012. The Agency will miss
this deadline by more than a year. AFPM urges EPA to accelerate its
rulemaking process to meet the statutory schedule.