NATSO, the national association representing truckstops and travel plazas, along with the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) commended Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt for soundly rejecting proposals to change the current compliance structure under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We are gratified that Administrator Pruitt and his team at EPA sided with American consumers and rejected efforts to move the RFS compliance responsibility away from refiners,” NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov said in a statement issued by the trade groups. “By reaffirming the current compliance structure under the RFS, EPA has taken a critical step in ensuring that fuel marketers continue to have a strong incentive to blend renewable fuels into the fuel supply and that consumers will pay the lowest possible price at the pump.”

“NACS applauds EPA’s decision to keep the refiner and importers as the obligated party under the RFS. It made sense back when EPA designed the program and still makes sense,” said Paige Anderson, director of government relations for NACS. “EPA’s rejection of shifting the obligation downstream will keep an important incentive to bring more renewable fuels into the motor fuel supply chain and help consumers by keeping their gas prices lower at the pump.”

EPA’s decision comes after a small segment of the U.S. refining industry spent more than a year encouraging policymakers to shift the compliance responsibility under the RFS from refiners and importers to fuel marketers, the groups said in their statement, issued Nov. 22. A diverse group of more than 35 organizations and companies led by NATSO and representing a majority of the fuel sector, including downstream blenders, fuel retailers, marketers and consumers at the federal and state levels, strongly opposed the shift.

“Since the RFS program was established, EPA correctly set the point of obligation where it belongs: on importers and refiners, the entities that control the composition of petroleum products—and we applaud the agency’s decision to keep the point of obligation where it belongs,” said Eva Rigamonti, counsel to NACS and SIGMA. “This is the best possible outcome to ensure the continued integrity of the RFS program, and we thank EPA for continuing to act in the best interest of the U.S. fuels market and American consumers.”

NATSO, NACS and SIGMA noted in comments to the agency that they support the introduction of renewable fuel substitutes into the marketplace but shifting the compliance responsibility from businesses that make motor fuels (refiners and importers) to the businesses that buy fuel would reduce competition and lead to lower renewable fuel use and higher retail prices.

Keeping refiners and importers as obligated parties under the RFS ensures that renewable fuels are integrated into the nation’s fuel supply. The current compliance structure is successfully achieving the agency’s objectives of displacing petroleum-based fuel with renewable substitutes, bolstering supply options for consumers and helping to stabilize prices. Changing the point of obligation would have discouraged fuel marketers from integrating renewable fuels into the fuel supply while simultaneously raising prices at the pump, the groups said.

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