A new analysis by University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin finds that the impact of a 10-cent cap on RIN prices, as proposed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, would be “catastrophic” for the renewable fuels industry.
Specifically, such a price cap would serve as the mortar in the oil industry’s attempt to rebuild the “blend wall.” Irwin finds that “…the RINs price cap would remove all incentives for blending E15 and E85” and would be equivalent to “waiving…the conventional ethanol mandate down to the level of the E10 blend wall.”
Meanwhile, the analysis finds that if “…ethanol usage could be pushed up just a few hundred million gallons, …D6 [conventional biofuel RIN] prices would naturally fall to just a few cents. An RVP waiver for E15 might just do the trick.” Still, Irwin finds that the biofuel and agricultural industries would be the losers in any “deal” that exchanges an E15 RVP waiver for a 10-cent RIN price cap. “Agricultural and biofuels interests will find this tradeoff distinctly unappealing, while refining interests will tend to have just the opposite reaction,” he said.