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The Biden administration has recently faced some resistance from ethanol lobbyists and biofuel trade associations in response to press reports that the White House and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be considering commonsense fixes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)....Read the Full Post

The global energy crisis crippling Europe, the UK, Brazil, India, and China has also reached America’s shores. As natural gas prices continue to increase, many reports indicate that “consumers could be in for a rough couple of months.”

With gasoline and diesel prices reaching record highs across the U.S. — due in part to the soaring compliance costs of EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — millions of Americans may be paying their highest home heating costs in many years this winter. This will be an acute problem throughout the Northeast, where nearly 20 percent of households still rely on heating oil as the primary heating source for their homes....Click to Read Full Post

 

With gasoline prices surging higher than ever before, people are being shut out from their jobs, disconnected from families, and unable to move about in their home countries. Demand for fuel oil to power electric generating stations is also on the upswing worldwide....Click to Read Full Post

 
 
 

On a special edition of “The Labor Show” with J Doc and Krausey on 1210 WPHT, Philadelphia, Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ-1) joined refining industry workers and other industry representatives for a conversation about America’s growing energy crisis. The conversation focused on the skyrocketing costs of compliance for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and how this broken federal regulation is putting thousands of good-paying, independent refinery and supply chain jobs at risk, while increasing the cost of gasoline at the pump. Joining the Congressman was PBF Energy’s Herman Seedorf, Brendan Williams, Mike Capone, and Mike Karlovich; as well as Monroe Energy’s Adam Gattuso, Boilermakers Local 13 Business Manager John Bland, and UA Local 74 Plumbers & Pipefitters Vice President Mike Hackendorn....Click to Read Full Post

Over the course of the last several months, dozens of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, ranging from providers of refinery and industrial maintenance services to family-owned manufacturing companies, wrote to their elected representatives in Congress, urging them as well as the Biden Administration to take swift action and reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)....Click to Read Full Post

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal mandate that requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels at levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA regulates RFS compliance through credits called Renewable Identification Numbers or “RINs.”...Click to Read Full Post

The oil industry is no stranger to unstable outlooks and volatile markets. The most recent shift in the oil market fueled a massive wave of job cuts in 2016, resulting in the loss of more than 195,000 jobs as oil prices crashed to record lows. Despite mandatory production cuts on oil producers, a rebounding market fueled a resurgence of jobs....Click to Read Full Post

As higher levels of inflation squeeze working families and threaten to undermine the economic initiatives at the heart of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, last week, press reports revealed that the Biden administration was launching new efforts to lower high gasoline prices....Click to Read Full Post

 

The looming crisis of a RINs deficiency compounds the existing problems — primarily, the higher gas prices and fuel shortages — already resulting from reduced U.S. refining capacity....Click to Read Full Post

The regulatory scheme of EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard forces U.S. independent refiners to purchase compliance credits called Renewable Identification Numbers or “RINs” from Big Oil competitors and massive biofuel blenders. This regulatory system was meant to create a market for biofuel but has merely created an artificial market for RINs instead....Click to Read Full Post

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently asserted that the ethanol industry has higher rates of unionization than the refining sector—but a closer look at the facts reveals quite the opposite, and in dramatic fashion. In reality, the numbers demonstrate why the Biden Administration needs to fix the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to protect union jobs (which are, in factpractically non-existent throughout the ethanol industry)....Click to Read Full Post

Iowa Senators and the Washington, D.C. biofuel lobby often attack “Big Oil” when independent refiners point out inequities with compliance mechanism for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard or RFS.  However, Iowa Senators, the biofuel lobby AND “Big Oil” take the exact same policy positions in opposition to RFS reforms....Click to Read Full Post

A new RINsanity report from Wells Fargo lays out the plain truth and consequences involving the hidden costs of the complex Renewable Fuel Standard’s that impact both consumers and U.S. independent refiners, and whether the artificial, unregulated RINs market spawned by the federal biofuel mandate actually leads to more ethanol blended into gasoline....Click to Read Full Post

Congressman Norcross: “We’re going to try to work with Republicans in a bipartisan way to find solutions to what really is not working.”

On Saturday night, Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ-1) joined PBF Energy’s Brendan Williams, Monroe Energy’s Adam Gatusso and Boilermakers Local 13 Business Manager John Bland for a special edition of The Labor Show with J Doc and Krausey on 1210 WPHT, Philadelphia for a conversation about America’s national energy crisis, with a focus on the rising costs of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which is threatening the U.S. refining sector....Click to Read Full Post

It’s been a difficult year for America’s small and mid-size refineries. As the global economy shuttered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, plummeting demand for fuel compounded skyrocketing costs of compliance under the Renewable Fuel Standard...Click to Read Full Post

Colonial Pipeline transports 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supply, carrying refined gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast to the New York Harbor. The pipeline services one of the most populated corridors in the country, delivering more than 100 million gallons each day...Click to Read Full Post

The biofuels history has a long and proud history of aggressively seeking handouts from any number of government programs to help prop up their industry.  Never more so has that been the case than during the pandemic, when biofuels advocates at times sound as if they alone bear the burden of the sharp drop in motor fuel consumption and broader economic slowdown...Click to Read Full Post

As the ethanol industry’s ever-eager lobbyists lean on the U.S. Government to throw yet another enormous annual biofuels obligation (RVOs) into the laps of beleaguered U.S. refineries, some observers are wondering why.  Fifteen years into the creation of the RFS, does ethanol’s single-minded pursuit of huge government blending targets actually help the industry? The question comes at a critical time...Click to Real Full Post

While ceaseless political maneuvering from rent-seeking ethanol interests directed at the White House and EPA keeps RFS policy constantly in flux, another arm of the U.S. Government maintains a very clear idea about what the RFS does to our nation’s biofuel markets and the underlying problems that politics creates.

The U.S. EIA regularly collects a range of eye-opening data about what kind of fuel is produced and consumed in our country—and where it comes from when it’s not made in the USA. A close read of that data underscores a number of truths about biofuels dynamics that its proponents prefer swept under the carpet...Click to Read Full Post

Historically, the biofuels community has reliably pushed back against any proposal that offers any form of RFS relief for small and independent refiners who lack the needed assets to blend their own fuel. Thus it comes as little surprise that today’s announcement that several state governors have requested renewable volume obligation (RVO) waivers have been met with outcries of doom from biofuels supporters. But the governors’ requests...Click to Read Full Post

The RFS was intended to reduce US dependence on foreign fuels. But from 2010 to 2019, the US imported 6.7 billion gallons of foreign biofuel to meet the mandate. Click to See Full Post

New data confirm what we already know: the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is really a foreign biofuels mandate. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) just released its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook and the data confirm that overly aggressive biofuel mandates in the US can only be met with increased foreign imports. Let’s look at the numbers. The EIA found that “net imports of biomass-based diesel increased by 47% to an average 23,000 b/d in 2019, and EIA expects them to increase further to an average 28,000 b/d in 2020 and to 39,000 b/d in 2021.”...Click to Read Full Post

Tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing allegedly addressing transparency concerns related to the renewable fuel standard, or RFS. But by targeting legally-required small refinery exemptions (SREs), they are missing the bigger picture...Click to Read Full Post

The facts have been clearly established that ethanol blending has increased, despite small refiner exemptions (SREs) from the RFS and falling prices for RFS compliance credits known as Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).  Yet rather than embrace what should be the positive reality that ethanol is competitive in a free market, the biofuel lobby has shifted gears to advance its push for ever higher, unrealistic mandates...Click to Read Full Post

The ethanol industry claims that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) helps farmers. Well, for once we agree. The RFS does help farmers – foreign farmers. That’s because the RFS is really a foreign biofuels mandate. Data show that forcing refiners to blend more biofuels only helps foreign farmers.  In each of the last three compliance years, U.S. refiners relied on between one to two BILLION foreign Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) to comply with the RFS...Click to Read Full Post

Elected leaders around the country have applauded the latest issuance of small refinery exemptions (SREs) by the EPA.  SREs are a lawful, court-approved safety valve designed by Congress to ensure that America’s most vulnerable small refineries are not run aground under the weight of the government’s biofuels mandate. Political officials, like most Americans, recognize how important the country’s refining sector is to maintaining U.S. energy security and supporting jobs for hard-working Americans that help sustain entire communities...Click to Read Full Post

An ethanol CEO called Reuters the other day to complain about the impact of small refiner exemptions, creating an “Ethanol Industry Threatened by SREs” news story (to paraphrase a bit) on the morning of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s visit to a Pennsylvania refinery...Click to Read Full Post

Independent energy consulting group Energy Ventures Analysis unveiled a study today on the effectiveness of the RFS.  The group was asked by the Fueling American Jobs Coalition to probe how the RFS is “performing as an energy policy in the current era of ever-increasing U.S. energy independence."...Click to Read Full Post

In a new report made public June 3rd, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provided further evidence of what we’ve already known for some time: that the RFS has failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that, at least for a time, it actually increased gas prices in many regions in the U.S.... Click to Read Full Post

In an article published May 16, Reuters reporters again appear to have framed an RFS story around their own pre-conceived notions. The facts are far from where Reuters landed. Here are the top ten errors and omissions we noticed in the story: 1) The story claims that the Sinclair decision finding that EPA had erred in its approach to addressing small refiner exemptions, or SREs, came after EPA’s consideration of revising its policy... Click to Read Full Post

The ethanol industry’s main lobbying arm, the Renewable Fuels Association, has proven nothing if not dogged in sticking to its theory that Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) somehow destroy demand for ethanol … no matter how many people and how much data intrude from the outside world to contradict their claims. Just last Thursday, EPA’s issuance of five new SREs spurred another heated statement from the perpetually overwrought trade group, which quickly blasted EPA’s decision to review and issue SRE applications (as instructed by Congress) “extremely disappointing and outrageous,” while also accusing refiners of “exploiting and abusing” the SRE provision of the RFS … presumably for having the audacity to apply for waivers in the first place... Click to Read Full Post

In September, this blog demonstrated that despite falling Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credit prices and small refiner exemptions (SREs) – and contrary to the claims of biofuel lobbyists - domestic ethanol consumption is actually increasing in the U.S.  Unfortunately, questions from corn-state Senators at this week’s Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) confirmation hearing suggest they haven’t yet developed the habit of reading our blog regularly... Click to Read Full Post

In late December, the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee met to conduct some much needed oversight of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the flawed government mandate designed to promote the use of ethanol and other biofuels in the country’s motor fuel supply.

While America’s biofuel production and use has expanded exponentially in the years since the RFS was created—to the point where ethanol has become the most economic form of fuel octane on the market—industry lobbyists seldom miss a chance to claim the sector is somehow harmed by not having even larger mandates than those in place today... Click to Read Full Post

Recent EIA data and academic research show that ethanol consumption remains robust and on track to outpace last year’s numbers, even despite small refiner exemptions (SREs) and falling RIN prices. So much for the long-held claims of ethanol demand destruction … we hope … but surely there must be a bogeyman out there somewhere, right?

In fact, a new one has emerged just in time. The ethanol demand destruction  myth is now facing competition from a fresh face: The claim that SREs and falling RINs are causing demand destruction to biodiesel. Brace yourself for another round of house-on-fire hysteria.

Yet a close examination of both the facts and history of the biodiesel mandate warns us against crying wolf once again. The stubborn fact remains that domestic biodiesel production is up compared to last year. And if in fact the product is in some way falling short of its potential, the more fair-minded out there would note that U.S. trade policy and a lack of clarity over the federal biodiesel tax credit would be lead factors in creating market uncertainty... Click to Read Full Post

A recent Real Clear Energy piece highlighting the fallacy of ethanol “demand destruction” certainly hit a nerve with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), prompting them to issue a detailed, point-by-point response.  Unfortunately, they missed an important part of the Real Clear Energy piece—the part about inappropriate interpretations from specially selected data points. RFA’s reply included more data cherry picking that did not change the central fact that the editorial highlighted: Even with falling RIN prices and small refiner exemptions (SREs), there is still NO evidence of ethanol demand destruction... Click to Read Full Post

Previous posts have highlighted the fact that despite falling Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credit prices and small refiner exemptions (SREs) – and contrary to the claims of biofuel lobbyists - domestic ethanol consumption is actually increasing.  Another erroneous claim from biofuel lobbyists relates to demand for fuels containing greater than 10 percent ethanol (“E10”), particularly fuel with 15 percent ethanol called “E15.”  Biofuel lobbyists claim motor fuel retailers need high priced RFS compliance credits – called Renewable Identification Numbers or RINs  - so they can discount E15 to make it competitive with fuels like E10 and ethanol free gasoline.  However, the facts prove otherwise.  As EPA has issued several SREs and RINs have fallen from highs of near one dollar last year to between 20 and 25 cents per gallon in recent months, the data available shows even E15 use is increasing significantly... Click to Read Full Post

One of the latest issues at the forefront of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) debate centers around allowing fuel containing 15 percent ethanol, or “E15,” to be sold year round.  Air quality regulations currently prevent E15 from being sold in the summer months due to its potential for higher emissions.  Biofuel interests have claimed waiving these air quality restrictions would help advance the objectives of the RFS and lower prices for its compliance credits – known as Renewable Identification Numbers or RINs.  Their argument rests on the claim that “more E15 means more RINs” and, thus, lower RIN prices.  Yet in a flat motor fuel demand environment, it is nearly impossible for E15 to make up the gap between the amount of ethanol all vehicles and infrastructure can safely handle and a mandate requiring 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel... Click to Read Full Post 

HollyFrontier

“HollyFrontier requests that EPA take three specific actions: (1) further reduce the renewable volume obligation using the general waiver authority given the inadequate volume of domestically produced renewable fuel available to obligated parties; (2) implement Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market reforms to increase RIN liquidity and decrease RIN prices; and (3) continue granting small refinery disproportionate economic hardship exemptions as required by the Clean Air Act when circumstances demonstrate a disproportionate economic harm.”... Click to Read Full Post 

HollyFrontier

“HollyFrontier requests that EPA take three specific actions: (1) further reduce the renewable volume obligation using the general waiver authority given the inadequate volume of domestically produced renewable fuel available to obligated parties; (2) implement Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market reforms to increase RIN liquidity and decrease RIN prices; and (3) continue granting small refinery disproportionate economic hardship exemptions as required by the Clean Air Act when circumstances demonstrate a disproportionate economic harm.”... Click to Read Full Post 

During this week's EPA field hearing in Michigan on the 2019 RVO proposal, RFA’s communications staff tweeted out a recycled claim from an old RFA paper with the bold if shaky assertion that “Small Refiner Exemptions Have Already Cost U.S. Corn Growers, Ethanol Producers, and Ethanol Blenders More than $5 Billion in Economic Losses.” (click here for the paper)

The RFA paper is probably most notable for the complete absence of independent sources that it cites in backing up the claims of economic damage it attributes to the exemptions... Click to Read Full Post