Ethanol industry disputes API’s ethanol claims

By Ann Bailey | October 30, 2015

The U.S. fuel ethanol industry has dismissed the American Petroleum Institute’s latest diatribe on the renewable fuel standard (RFS), saying the API’s assertions are false and an effort to restrict American consumers’ fuel choice.

The API released a study that said the statutory biofuels mandate under the RFA was not feasible to achieve and could cause great harm to Americans and the U.S. economy. API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco told reporters in a conference call that the mandates try to force more ethanol into gasoline that is safe for most cars on the road.

National Economics Research Associates predicts that refiners will be forced to reduce the nation’s fuel supply gasoline and diesel by 30 percent, rather than risk damage to vehicles, Greco said during the conference call. The research group also concluded consumer demand for higher ethanol content gasoline such as E85 and E15 is too small to serve as an outlet for higher ethanol mandates.

Dissemination of the recent anti-ethanol information by the API is business as usual, said Brooke Bainum, a spokeswoman for Fuels America. The talking points from the API are not new and have been disproven many times, she said.

The oil industry repeatedly opposes efforts to improve air quality impacts from the U.S. supply and denies that is the right thing to do at the same time it makes “wild doomsday predictions” about the economic consequences that have never happened, Bainum said in response to API.

Gas retailers continually have lauded the benefits of higher blend fuels, Bainum noted. For example, Cheryl Near, owner of Jump Start gas station in Wichita, Kansas, said the United States needs to support homegrown renewable fuels and blend more, not less, ethanol into the fuel supply.

Meanwhile, U.S. Energy Department, Argonne National Laboratory and University of Illinois –Chicago studies disprove API’s claims about ethanol and also have proven the benefits of higher fuel blends, Bainum said.

Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO, countered API’s latest claim by saying that the institute and its allies are attempting Americans hooked on dangerous foreign oil and consumers are paying the price. Americans deserve market access to a less expensive choice at the pump, Buis said. Ethanol choices such as E15 and E85 reduce greenhouse emissions and make the air cleaner, he said.

More than 84 percent of the cars on the road are approved to use E15, Buis noted, and despite what API claims, ethanol blends help clear the environment, are higher performing, cost less and directly benefit consumers by providing a choice and savings.

The Renewable Fuels Association called on the American Petroleum Institute to stop trying to scare consumers about biofuels in an attempt to protect its fuel monopoly.

“Much like an uncontained oil spill which obliterates everything it is path, as we approach the deadline for the EPA to release its final RFS rule Big Oil and its congressional supporters are pulling out all of the stops by completing obliterating the truth,” Bob Dineen, RFA president and CEO said in a news release.