NATSO and a coalition of trade groups representing fuel producers, retailers, and consumers urged Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to reject efforts to change the current compliance structure of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The March 2 letter, which includes oil and ethanol producers alongside truckstops, convenience stores, truck drivers, trucking fleets, railroads and highway users, marks the first time that all of these organizations have come together on one issue and underscores the critical importance of the current compliance structure on the fuels market and the U.S. economy.
“The one issue that brings us all together is our belief that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should deny petitions to change the point of obligation for RFS compliance,” the letter states.
EPA on Feb. 22 closed a public comment period, during which NATSO, a number of its members and the coalition partners submitted comments urging EPA to keep the current compliance structure in place. Under the RFS, refiners and importers currently are obligated parties to ensure that renewable fuels are integrated into the nation’s fuel supply. Recently, however, there has been a coordinated effort on the part of obligated parties to encourage policymakers to shift the point of obligation under the RFS from refiners and importers to "rack sellers."
Although thousands of comments have been filed, rumors continue to circulate in Washington, D.C., that the White House may issue an Executive Order directing EPA to shift compliance requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard downstream from the refinery to the terminal rack. The White House has denied those claims, but has not yet indicated that such a prospect is off the table.
NATSO will continue to monitor this situation closely and aggressively advocate for keeping the current compliance structure in place.
The current policy creates a strong incentive for fuel marketers to blend renewable fuels into the fuel supply while lowering the price at the pump for consumers. Changing the compliance structure would discourage fuel marketers from integrating renewable fuels into the fuel supply while simultaneously raising prices at the pump.
In November, EPA sided with NATSO and said that it will not alter the compliance structure under the RFS. The announcement was accompanied by a comprehensive analysis detailing the effectiveness of the current point of obligation.
Signatories of the March 2 letter included NATSO, the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, American Biogas Council, American Highway Users Alliance, American Coalition for Ethanol, American Trucking Associations, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the Advanced Biofuels Association, Growth Energy, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, SIGMA and the National Tank Truck Carriers.
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