Posted August 16, 2013

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014. 
According to Christopher Doering of the Des Moines Register, the groups are requesting a reduction from 18.15 billion gallons of renewable fuels to 14.8 billion gallons for 2014.  The RFS requires refiners to blend a certain amount of renewable fuels (corn, soybeans, and other products) to “reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy.”  The groups argue that a “failure to lower the mandate would result in ‘severe economic harm’ to consumers and the U.S. economy” due to a breach of the “blend wall.”  Refiners argue that the higher standard will require them to blend more ethanol into the fuel, exceeding the 10 percent threshold accepted in all cars and trucks.  Since consumers are driving less and vehicles are more efficient, consumers are using less fuel.
This is the third request by a group to waive the RFS.  Previous similar petitions — by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 2008 and several states last year — were both rejected.
The Des Moines Register article is available here. 
The EPA recently announced changes to the 2013 standard and stated that it will reduce the standard for 2014, but has not released details on when or how the 2014 reduction will take place.  A recent post from this blog on that issue is available here. 
Bloomberg reports that supporters of the RFS “say this petition is just an attempt by the oil industry to limit the competition.”  The EPA has 90 days to respond to the waiver petition.
For more information on the RFS, please visit the National Agricultural Law website, here.  For information on waiver authority under the RFS, visit the Center Website here.