RFA’s President and CEO Bob Dinneen submitted the following letter to the Orlando Sentinel in response to their recent article featuring Charles Drevna, President of the American Fuels & Petrochemical Manufacturers.
Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland said the RFS was “unworkable”. Bob Dinneen says that’s just silly talk. The RFS is a proven success having stimulated investment, created jobs, and significantly lowered our dependence on foreign oil.
Recent rhetoric from Big Oil about the economic impacts of RINs got us thinking: If oil refiners and gasoline marketers actually decided to invest in the modern fuel distribution infrastructure needed to dispense greater than E10 blends, what would it cost them in comparison to the wild “compliance cost" claims they make today?
An EPRINC report released on Sep. 14 entitled “Ethanol’s Lost Promise” advocates repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The paper suggests removing the RFS could reduce the oil refining sector’s ethanol consumption down to 6.1 billion gallons annually (compared to 12.5 billion gallons in 2011). EPRINC suggests the void left by smaller ethanol supplies could be filled with imported gasoline, increased gasoline yields at the expense of diesel/distillate production, expanding U.S. refining capacity, and other infeasible options. In response to RFA’s reaction to its study, EPRINC tried to defend it with yet more conflicting and misleading statements. Once again, RFA is stepping forward to refute fiction with fact.
A report released this week by EPRINC, an oil industry-funded research group, suggests a multi-year suspension of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) could reduce U.S. ethanol use by more than half. In this analysis, the RFA points out that in attempting to tear down the RFS, the EPRINC report actually underscores the importance of the program and highlights the lack of sensible or economic options available to refiners if ethanol use is severely curtailed.
A report released today by Battelle, sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute (API), claims a recent rash of corrosion incidents in storage and handling equipment for Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) use stems from ethanol contamination. Under normal, everyday storage and handling conditions, ethanol should never come into contact with diesel fuel; ethanol is a gasoline additive.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal published Letter to the Editor of mine, which was in response to "Ethanol vs the World." On the same day, the Journal published yet another sarcastic screed, “How Ethanol Causes Joblessness” that ridiculed what it claims was the methodology behind a study by academic economists that showed the increased use of domestic ethanol fuel lowered gas prices by a national average of $1.09 in 2011. Responding to this attack, I submitted another editorial, which was rejected by the Editorial Features Staff. Please read said editorial in this post.
A recent article entitled "Clean Green Scam" highlighted the case of Rodney Hailey whose company sold approximately $9 million worth of fraudulent biodiesel credits to the oil industry. They were also fined by the EPA for not conducting proper due diligence to make sure the credits were legit. This cost Big Oil another $40 million. The article went on to say, "Refiners have been ripped off to the tune of $200 million so far by crooks and government fines..." due to the Renewable Fuels Standard. Wow, that is a big number - unless of course you put it into context.
In these difficult economic times, a recurring question is who should get help and who should stand on their own. With people it's the middle class vs. the 1%. In the corporate world, the question is whose government support should be cut. Recent failures by Solyndra and others, make "green energy" subsidies a favored target. But what about Big Oil? Isn't it time to address their subsidies?
In recent testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, Mr. Thomas O’Malley, chairman of PBF Energy, attempted to tar and feather ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as the root cause of refinery closures in the Northeast. Mr. O’Malley’s comments are more reflective of the petroleum industry’s crusade against renewable fuels and a willingness to play fast and loose with the facts.
As the nation teeters on the brink of default, lawmakers from both parties continue to squabble while others seek to further erode the progress America has made in reducing our reliance on imported oil.
For ethanol interests, the United States Senate was a cauldron of confusion this week. As is often the case in Washington, things are not as they appear. This week's ethanol debate had little to do with ethanol and even less to do with true energy policy. It was old fashioned political theater.
In politics, it is always wise to follow the money – both good and bad. In the case of Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) efforts to kill American ethanol production, the money tells the story.
As if more evidence was needed that America must end its coerced affair with OPEC, Javier Blas at the Financial Times reports that $100+ oil is likely the new norm. Why? Because OPEC members like Venezuela and Iran need to balance their books after years of “rampant military spending.”
Whether it’s the surprising price spread between WTI and Brent crude prices, declining oil imports, lower gasoline prices at the pump, or the frayed nerves of a Saudi oil minister, U.S. ethanol is clearly having a meaningful impact on U.S. and global oil supplies, demand, and prices.
America's commitment to ethanol and renewable fuels has been a unparalleled success for rural America. It has created jobs, spurred economic activity, and even given some rural residents a reason and the opportunity to move back home. Yet, critics of ethanol would lead you to believe that ethanol is the scourage of rural America. A new paper from an anti-ethanol group, Food and Water Watch, goes so far as to compare domestic ethanol production to the illegal methamphetamine plague impacting rural areas. Like much of the rhetoric from those opposing ethanol, this paper is not based on the facts and takes poetic license to irresponsible levels.
Today, ethanol-blended fuels are bringing the price down at the pump for consumers. Customers are able to spend between a nickel and a dime less than what they would pay for conventional gasoline. Despite this, the New Hampshire House of Representatives recently voted to put a ban on corn-based ethanol in the state. This bill will not only increase gas prices and lead us down a road toward more imported oil, it will also hinder the very market into which advanced and cellulosic ethanol producers will one day want to sell.
As oil prices soar and gas prices spike even before the start of the summer driving season, lawmakers in Nebraska and New Hampshire take divergent positions on America's dependence on oil. One is seeking to increase its use of domestic renewable fuels. The other is choosing to head down a path of increased oil dependence.
The Nebraska Senate has taken an important step toward increasing the state's use of domestically produced ethanol by approving a bill to repeal labeling requirements for 10 percent ethanol blends. This is a good first step, but oil interests in the state will not swallow this bill without a fight.