A highly respected oil economist believes the solution to the current Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) price issue is more sales of E85 (85% ethanol).
Economist Phil Verleger has weighed in on the RINS situation in the latest edition of Notes at the Margin, his weekly email report about news impacting the petroleum industry. “The obvious solution to the RIN price problem involves no EPA intervention and no regulatory action,” Verleger wrote. “It simply calls for boosting E85 sales.”
Verleger explains that because refiners will be required by EPA this year to have 9/10s of a RIN for every 10 gallons of gasoline, and each gallon of E85 generates 0.85 RINs, a sale of 10 gallons of E85 produces a surplus of nearly 7.6 RINS which they can sell. “My point is that when the price of RINS gets high enough, that the price of E85 on a per BTU basis will be less than the price of gasoline,” said Verleger in a phone interview with Domestic Fuel. “At some point companies will almost be willing to give away E85 to get the RINS.”
According to Verleger, the RINS issue has been created by the resistance of some refiners to the RFS. “The oil industry doesn’t like to sell less oil,” he said. They want to get the program changed so that “they can sell more gasoline and not have to use as much ethanol.”
Listen to interview with Verleger here: Economist Phil Verleger