NATSO, the national association representing truckstops and travel plazas, along with the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), submitted an amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals providing support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) determination that the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) remain with refiners and importers. NATSO filed the brief in response to legal challenges from some refiners and importers that argue EPA should move the point of obligation to downstream entities.
The point of obligation determines which party under the RFS is required to demonstrate compliance with annual renewable volume obligations. After considering the issue several times, EPA ultimately decided in November 2017 to maintain the point of obligation with the refiners and importers to best ensure that renewable fuels are integrated into the nation's fuel supply. EPA found in that determination that the current compliance structure is successfully achieving the statutory objective to limit dependence on foreign oil and increase supply options by blending increasing amounts of renewable fuel into the petroleum-based fuel supply.
In the brief, NATSO argues that EPA correctly placed the point of obligation on refiners and importers rather than blenders because it “best aligns market participants’ profit motives with the goals of the statute,” the brief said. The brief goes on to explain that moving the point of obligation would discourage fuel marketers from integrating renewable fuels into the fuel supply while simultaneously raising prices at the pump.
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