Ethanol, RFS not cause of higher gas prices, stakeholders say

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, March 14, 2013 - Ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are not responsible for rising gasoline prices, rather it should be blamed on profit-hungry oil companies, renewable fuel industry stakeholders said today.

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Bob Dineen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, said the oil companies have been claiming that the prices of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) have added 10 cents to the price of a gallon of gas.

“It's just nonsense,” Dineen said during a conference call. “The bottom line is ethanol and the RFS…are saving money at the pump today.”

As part of the RFS, oil companies buy RINs from ethanol producers for credits to meet the law's requirements. RINs track each gallon of ethanol produced, and companies can either buy the fuel or a RIN credit to comply with RFS.

Dineen called the oil companies' accusation a “cynical and sophomoric attempt to undermine RIN.”

Tom Buis, chief executive officer of Growth Energy, also said RIN prices are not to blame for rising gas prices.

“What's driving the recent record highs are the record profit margins the oil industry is profiting off of, currently at more than $1 per gallon,” Buis said. “This is because the oil companies have a near monopoly on the marketplace.”

Buis said the oil companies, such as Marathon Petroleum Corporation, are preventing alternatives from entering the market.

“To blame ethanol for higher gasoline prices being too high is blatantly false, Buis said.

Their comments came about a month after Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., introduced legislation to block an increase in the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline.

The bill would overturn Environmental Protection Agency waivers that allowed gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) to be used for many passenger cars and light trucks.

The senators said the higher blend of ethanol has been found to cause engine damage, reduce fuel efficiency, and contribute to higher corn prices and rising food costs for American consumers.

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