US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ronald L. Wyden (D-Ore.) asked the Environmental Protection Agency for data to explain unprecedented volatility in the market for Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN). RINs are designed to help refiners meet alternative fuel volume requirements under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard.
“Given that ethanol is an increasingly important factor in the cost and supply of motor fuel in the US, it is critical that the committee have a better understanding of the causes and effects of RIN market volatility and developments,” Wyden said in a Mar. 22 letter to EPA Acting Administrator Robert Perciasepe.
Wyden asked EPA to provide data concerning RINs market volatility and irregular trading, and deficits and surpluses in RINs carried over from the previous year, as well as US production and consumption of biofuels as part of preparation for a hearing on gasoline prices later this spring.
Refiners are required to blend 13.8 billion gal of ethanol into the US gasoline supply this year, Wyden said. Prices for conventional RINs rose from 7¢/gal at the beginning of January to $1.10/gal during the first week of March, he noted.
His request came 2 days after the American Petroleum Institute and Republican Sens. David Vitter (La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) separately asked EPA to address RIN costs, which have jumped 1,400% since the beginning of 2012 (OGJ Online, Mar. 21, 2013).
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