GAO to EPA: You’re going to have to release these Renewable Fuel Standard regulations sometime, you know
posted at 8:51 pm on April 14, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Big Ethanol was appalled when the Environmental Protection Agency announced late last year that they might actually acknowledge reality by reducing the required volume of certain biofuels that refiners have to blend into the nation’s fuel supply under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Our economic slowdown combined with technological innovation and increased fuel efficiency have resulted in declining gasoline consumption in the past few years, and the annually increased volume of biofuels refiners are automatically supposed to be incorporating was running the fuel supply up against phenomenon known as the “blend wall,” the point at which the mixed fuel is no longer safe for use in most cars and trucks on the road. This phenomenon has never troubled Big Ethanol, an industry rather partial to the artificially jacked-up demand for their product the federal government mandates into existence, and the industry’s powerful lobby went into an almighty uproar over the proposed change that they’re still battling out.
Whatever decision the EPA goes with, they kinda’ need to get around to making it, since the not-yet-released 2014 standard will be applied retroactively — and as the Government Accountability Office notes in a new report, that is currently inflicting quite a bit of uncertainty on our energy sector. Via The Hill:
The Government Accountability Office report released on Monday looked at three major changes that have affected the domestic petroleum, or gasoline, refining industry, a key one being the EPA’s renewable fuel mandate. …
Since 2009 the EPA has missed its deadline to issue regulations for the renewable fuel mandate, the report states. This year has been no exception. However, the EPA did retreat on the amount of ethanol it is requiring refiners to mix into the fuel supply for the first time since the standards were established in 2007. …
“A late [Renewable Fuel Standard] contributes to industry uncertainty, which can increase costs because industry cannot plan and budget effectively, according to some stakeholders,” the watchdog said. …
The GAO notes that future consumption of petroleum products may increase through 2020 but will not return to past levels. If EPA continues to issue the fuel standards late costs may be incurred by refiners or passed onto consumer through higher gasoline prices.
Oh, look: The EPA inflicting uncertainty and extra costs onto pretty much everything it touches. Something new and different for them.