Contrary to what some in oil industry are trying to tell the public, the recent rise in prices for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), the government’s tracking system to make sure companies are properly complying with federal rules about using renewable energy, is not pushing up gas prices. University of Illinois analysts Scott Irwin and Darrel Good say RINs also don’t make money in the supply chain:
We concluded that the buying and selling of RINs within that supply chain results in something close to a zero-sum game in terms of profitability for the industry. The result is that high RINs prices at the present time likely have a minimal impact on RFS2 compliance and the cost of motor fuel at the retail level.
Irwin and Good do admit, though, that RFS2 compliance costs could go up:
Even though ethanol blending margins are expected to remain generally positive in the future, the collision between the E10 blendwall and the RFS2 mandate in 2013 and prospects for an increasingly larger wedge between the RFS2 mandate and the E10 blendwall in 2014 and beyond raise the specter of sharply higher compliance costs. Soaring RINs prices beginning in January 2013 are an early warning sign about the potential for higher compliance costs, particularly in 2014 as the existing stock of RINs could be depleted entirely.
Read what they have to say here.