We are a coalition of union workers, local gas station owners, small retailers, and independent American oil refiners fighting for a commonsense fix to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The historic decrease in fuel demand during COVID-19 led to eight refineries closing or announcing closure within the last year alone, resulting in thousands of lost middle-class jobs that support working families. As America’s remaining independent refineries struggle to regain their footing after the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic, RINs prices are rising through the roof, threatening some refiners’ survival.
We are fighting for Congress and the Biden administration to fix the RFS to:
- Protect and support thousands of good-paying American jobs, including thousands in organized labor.
- Level the playing field so that smaller retailers – many of which are minority-owned – and independent refiners can compete against large, multi-national companies.
- Protect our national security and enhance U.S. global competitiveness.
- Protect consumers from fuel supply chain disruption and price hikes at the gas pump.
There are many actions the government can take to fix this problem. Specifically, EPA could:
Lower RINs prices, including by allowing refiners to buy fixed-price government RINs when the cost of RINs is out of control like they are and have been for too long.
Adjust the RFS to prevent severe economic harm by reducing overall national volume obligations upon petition by a governor who provides evidence that a state, region, or national economy will suffer severe economic harm due to compliance with the RFS.
Change the “point of obligation,” so that the responsibility for complying with the program is proportional with a company’s physical ability to blend ethanol and other biofuels into gasoline and diesel. The Biden administration has the power to make blenders who generate RINs to comply with the law, rather than refiners that do not control biofuel blending businesses.
Partially waive the RFS based on petitions from states harmed by unreasonable Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).
Eliminate the de facto foreign biodiesel mandate. The law currently mandates more biodiesel than domestic biodiesel producers can make, resulting in a de facto foreign biodiesel mandate. In fact, in 2020, the U.S. imported nearly 1,000 barrels per day of biofuel, a total of 475 million gallons of foreign biofuel imported to meet obligations under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. EPA should reduce the biodiesel requirement to a level more reflective of actual domestic production.
Allow RINs attached to exported biofuel to be used for RFS compliance. Right now, RINs have to be retired when they are attached to exported biofuel. However, RINs attached to imported biofuel could be used for RFS compliance. If EPA clarified that all biofuels manufactured in the U.S. and exported can generate RINs that can be used for RFS compliance, it would add significant liquidity to the RINs program, boost biofuel exports and lower refiners’ and consumers’ costs.
Lower the overall volume of biofuel required to a level all engines and infrastructure can safely handle. This will lower the overall demand for credits and alleviate the cost.
Ensure business certainty and predictability by creating other safety valves to control runaway RIN costs that threaten American jobs.
EPA can and should act expeditiously on any or all of these initiatives, which can be achieved through regulatory rulemaking. Advancing any of these measures could save hundreds of thousands jobs across the U.S. refining sector and the industries it supports.