Motor fuel marketers criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulations that would reform the market for Renewable Identification Numbers.
The proposed changes to the market for RINs, which are the “credits” that EPA uses to ensure that refiners satisfy their obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), would create chaos in the RIN market and reduce incentives for fuel retailers to incorporate renewable fuels into the fuel supply, the marketer groups said. The groups include NATSO, the national association representing truckstops and travel plazas, the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.
EPA admits that it has not seen any “data-based evidence” of RIN market manipulation that would necessitate these reforms, the groups said in a statement issued March 12.
“EPA’s proposal would remove many existing incentives to sell biofuels and would act as a penalty for fuel marketers that want to blend those fuels,” said NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Falco. “The ‘reforms’ that EPA is exploring were conceived by the same refining companies that for years have been trying to undercut the RFS in order to avoid investing in renewable fuels. The changes are not designed to ‘enhance RIN transparency’ but rather to depress demand for biofuels so that a small subset of refiners can spend as little as possible to meet their obligations.”
“While these reforms are supposed to limit volatility and ‘improve transparency’ in the RIN market, they would generate more problems than solutions,” said Paige Anderson, NACS director of government relations. “Allowing E15 to be sold year-round is only helpful if retailers still have an incentive to sell it—and this proposal takes that incentive away.”
“If enacted as proposed, the ‘reforms’ could disrupt and distort the RIN market, ultimately undermining the purpose of the RFS,” said Eva Rigamonti, counsel to SIGMA. “Rather than push this counterproductive proposal, EPA could mitigate RIN market volatility while incentivizing the blending and sale of more renewable fuels by implementing the RFS in a transparent and predictable fashion.”
NATSO is the trade association of the U.S. travel plaza and truckstop industry.
NACS represents the U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 153,000 stores nationwide selling fuel, food and merchandise.
SIGMA represents approximately 260 independent chain retailers and marketers of motor fuel.
Together, NATSO, NACS, and SIGMA represent approximately 90% of retail sales of motor fuel in the United States.