API launches ‘fuel for thought’ campaign aimed at repealing RFS

The American Petroleum Institute launched a print, radio, and television advertising campaign designed to generate public support for repealing the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

“The new ads are the first in a series designed to educate American consumers on why we must end this unworkable mandate,” Robert Greco, API’s downstream and industry operations group director, said in a teleconference.

“The [RFS] is broken beyond repair,” he told reporters on July 15. “By mandating higher ethanol content in gasoline than is safe, it threatens American consumers, the investments they’ve made in their vehicles and our economic well-being.”

He said API has mobilized its grassroots network of more than 15 million concerned citizens, including hundreds in every congressional district. “So far, thousands of Americans have been calling the White House and contacting Congress every week,” Greco said. “These ads will encourage more Americans to tell the White House to fix the problem before it’s too late, while urging Congress to completely repeal the RFS.”

The ads also will refer readers and viewers to a new web site, FillUpOnFacts.com, where they can learn more about how the RFS can harm their vehicle and could disrupt the nation’s fuel supply, Greco said.

Congress established the RFS under the 2007 Energy Policy Act and expanded it under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The 2007 changes added diesel fuel to gasoline, which was covered under EPACT; increased required renewable fuel volumes from 9 billion gal in 208 to 36 billion gal by 2022; established new renewable fuel categories, with separate volume requirements for each; and required the US Environmental Protection Agency to apply greenhouse gas performance threshold standards to ensure that each renewable fuel category emits fewer GHGs than the petroleum fuel it replaces, according to EPA.

Greco said a study by NERA Economic Consulting found that continuation of the RFS would increase diesel prices 300% and gasoline prices 30% by 2015 while significant reducing supplies of both. “This would translate into a $770 billion decrease in US gross domestic product and a $580 billion decrease in take-home pay for American workers,” he indicated.

A growing chorus of concerned groups is asking Congress to repeal RFS, and while API supports this goal, it also understands that it will take time, Greco said.

“That’s why we urge EPA to immediately reduce the total renewable fuels volume requirement to a level below 10% of overall gasoline demand and fully waive the cellulosic ethanol requirement for 2013,” he continued. “EPA has finally sent the final 2013 mandates to [the White House’s Office of Management and Budget] for review, and we urge OMB to ensure that EPA is using its statutory authority to lower the RFS mandates to avoid the blend wall this year.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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