Last fall, President Donald Trump promised the American people that the Environmental Protection Agency would consider ways to bring consumers more choices at gas pumps across the country.
In a federal rule finalized at the end of May, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler helped to follow through on the president’s promise by clearing regulatory barriers to make it easier to sell fuel with up to 15% ethanol year-round. This action provides greater market opportunities for American farmers who grow the corn used to produce ethanol.
In the past, EPA’s regulations meant that gas stations selling E15 often chose to stop selling it during the summer months due to the added regulatory cost and complexity. By removing those additional burdens, operators can more easily choose to sell E15 all year.
This rule is also a step forward in improving the management of the renewable fuel standard program. The RFS program is a national statutory program that requires a certain volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum-based transportation fuel. That program makes use of tradable credits — or “RINs” — that refiners use to show they are complying with the program every year.
President Trump also directed EPA to consider a range of reforms to the RIN market. In response, EPA is finalizing changes to certain elements of the RIN compliance system of the RFS program by increasing transparency to deter price manipulation in the RIN market.
The reforms include public disclosure if a party’s RIN holdings exceed certain thresholds and additional data collections to improve EPA market monitoring capability.
We believe that the actions we are finalizing today lay a strong foundation for improving the functioning and overall transparency of the RIN market. This will benefit all renewable market participants by ensuring a level and open playing field.
EPA will closely monitor the implementation of this rule and continue to work on these important topics with interested stakeholders. This rule will also require EPA and stakeholders to engage with and educate consumers at gas pumps and in the RIN markets.
We are confident that this final rule will help power us toward more innovative, market-driven solutions that provide avenues for continued economic growth.
The agency’s final rule is a step forward in expanding biofuel opportunities and managing an important program responsibly. Together our actions will give consumers and farmers the certainty and clarity they need.