A news report this week that EPA was considering a policy change to count ethanol exports toward Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) caused their prices to dive on the market. That, on top of EPA’s announcement this week that further cuts in the volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) were being considered, caused some to question the administration’s commitment to biofuels, but others say there is no need to panic, yet.
“This is a town that thrives on rumors,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “But if true, the notion of allowing exported biofuels to qualify towards an oil company’s RFS renewable fuel volume obligation would be a gross misinterpretation of the letter and spirit of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, designed to enhance—not export-U.S. energy security.”
Currently, RINs are not associated with exported U.S. ethanol, and if they were it could add another billion ethanol (D6) RINs annually. The change is reportedly being sought by Valero Energy and other oil interests, including presidential advisor Carl Ichan, who was the basis of the rumor earlier this year that EPA planned to change the point of obligation in favor of refiners, which never happened.