Dear Mr. President: Protect Consumers From E15's Potential Harms

September 27, 2018

With recent reports indicating that the EPA is moving to facilitate the year-round sale of E15 gasoline – which studies have shown could put consumers at risk – API and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) this week wrote a letter to President Trump urging the administration not to take actions that could negatively impact refiners.

Specifically, EPA is preparing an extension to the one-pound Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver to E15 fuel, coupled with potentially problematic changes to Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market trading. In their letter to the White House, API President and CEO Mike Sommers and AFPM President Chet Thompson write that they oppose the RVP extension and instead encourage “meaningful reform” to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), whose ethanol mandates could affect U.S. consumers. From the letter:

Such an approach is insufficient for refiners and inconsistent with your long-standing commitment to finding a solution that meets the needs of both the biofuels and refining industries. We urge you to not move forward. Meaningful reforms to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are integral in any discussion about E15. Without corresponding reductions of mandated biofuel volumes, more E15 could be forced into the market, increasing the risk of consumer misfuelling.

Let’s take a moment to remember why pushing more high ethanol-volume fuel into the nation’s fuel supply could harm consumers:

As the API-AFPM letter states, any discussion of E15 must occur in the context of significantly reforming the RFS. The administration’s push to facilitate year-round E15 sales doesn’t fit with the administration’s commitment to find RFS solutions that address the concerns of refiners and the biofuels industry.

The RFS discussion has been long and sometimes complicated. As the letter indicates, real progress on the issue depends on consensus reforms that work for the refining sector, biofuels producers and farmers and that protect consumers.

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