Washington Times Defends Irresponsible Big Oil Scare Tactic
To the Editor:
Conservatives believe in competition. But the Washington Times’ editorial, (“The Ethanol Bubble,” March 15), sides with a would-be monopoly, Big Oil, against its leading competitor, American ethanol.
Ethanol costs $0.75 per gallon less than gasoline, offering lower prices at the pump. But Big Oil would rather shut out competitors and shortchange consumers. That is why the big oil companies are refusing to move to higher ethanol-gasoline blends, such as the 15 percent blend (E15) that has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for vehicles built after 2001.
Instead, the oil companies are buying Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits for not meeting the Renewable Fuel Standard for blending biofuels with gasoline. By selling these credits to each other, they’re bidding up the costs of RINs — needlessly, irresponsibly as a scare tactic.
The RIN program was designed to meet any shortages of renewable fuels, not to allow oil companies to avoid blending ethanol with gasoline. In fact, there is no shortage of ethanol in the marketplace. Ethanol stocks are high, while production-capacity utilization is an unusually low 85 percent. The problem is that Big Oil is refusing to blend more ethanol — and punishing American motorists in the process.
Contrary to the editorial’s claims, the Renewable Fuel Standard does promote environmental quality and energy security. According to a study published by Yale University’s Journal of Industrial Ecology, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 48 to 59 percent, compared to gasoline. And ethanol has reduced American dependence on imported oil from 60 percent in 2005 to 41 percent in 2012.
If we give it a chance at the nation’s fuel pumps, competition really can work wonders.
Bob Dinneen is president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the trade association of the American ethanol industry.