EPA Issues Final Rule on RFS Reform

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a Final RIN Market Reform rule that authorizes the sale of E-15 year-round throughout the United States and enhances disclosure requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The Final Rule appears to have adopted a number of suggestions made by NATSO in comments filed with the agency as part of the rulemaking process. NATSO filed its comments in conjunction with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers (SIGMA).

NATSO continues to analyze the Final Rule and will have more detailed analysis in the coming days. The Final Rule appears to have refrained from adopting proposed regulatory changes that would have dissuaded and prevented fuel marketers from buying, selling and blending renewable fuels under the RFS.

NATSO, NACs and SIGMA issued a joint statement to media commending EPA.

“We are still analyzing the rule, but at first glance we are pleased that EPA appears to have hit the sweet spot here by reasonably enhancing disclosure requirements without altering market participants’ behavior,” the trade associations said in a joint statement. “We appreciate that EPA chose not to promulgate unnecessary regulations that came with a high likelihood of unintended, counterproductive consequences.”

EPA initially had proposed a number of reforms that would have reduced the incentives for retailers to continue buying, blending and selling renewable fuels.

In April comments filed with the agency, the trade associations, which represent 90 percent of the retail sales of motor fuels, urged EPA to finalize only those aspects of its proposed RIN Market Reform Rule that enhance disclosure requirements. They also urged the agency to set aside for future reconsideration those aspects that would have disrupted the market.

NATSO, NACS and SIGMA did not object to the sale of E-15 year-round, nor did they oppose enhanced disclosure requirements.

[NATSO, Fuel Marketers File Comments on EPA's RIN Market Proposal]

The Alternative Fuels Council also submitted comments on EPA's proposed RIN market reform. The Alternative Fuels Council said in its April comments that the rationale for the proposed RIN market reforms were lacking in substance.

In their comments, the groups also reminded the agency that primary source of volatility and manipulation in RIN markets is uncertainty and opaqueness surrounding small refinery exemptions.

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