POET'S VOICE IN WASHINGTON
POET's involvement in federal and state policy issues.
Thirty years ago, POET opened its doors as a means to lift one family farm out of the agriculture crisis. Today, we operate 30 biofuel facilities in eight states and support thousands of American jobs across the heartland. Every day, POET produces homegrown renewable energy – keeping our air cleaner and supporting our economy. We help drivers save the environment – while saving money at the fuel pump. POET is also committed to supporting public policies that reflect our passion for innovation and promote America’s continued growth as the world leader in biofuel production. Our mission is to build more sustainable world, from the ground up.
REMOVING BARRIERS TO CONSUMER FUEL CHOICES WITH A REID VAPOR PRESSURE (RVP) FIX
Fuel retailers want to offer their customers E15 — a federally approved fuel with 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. It is approved for almost 90 percent of American vehicles, can save motorists money and increase a vehicle’s performance. However, an unnecessary regulation limits how most retailers can sell E15 during the summer fueling season (June 1 - September 15).
This regulation is tied to Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) — a measure of how quickly fuel evaporates. In 1990, Congress provided a one-pound RVP volatility waiver to 10 percent ethanol blends because ethanol fuels reduce tailpipe emissions. While the EPA has extended this waiver to blends below 10 percent, the agency has yet to provide RVP relief for E15.
Enacted before E15 was part of the conversation, the current rules remain hopelessly out of date, barring many drivers from accessing cleaner fuels during summer months when Americans spend the most time on the road.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers are experiencing the sharpest drop in income since the Great Depression. There are over 5 billion bushels of surplus corn, wheat and soybeans dragging down global prices. To reverse this trend, agriculture needs a larger percentage of the gas tank. An RVP fix would provide an immediate outlet for America’s agricultural surplus and deliver a much-needed jolt to rural economies. To achieve this goal, POET supports bipartisan legislation, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517, H.R. 1311), which would allow E15 to be offered year-round.
SUPPORTING BIOFUELS GROWTH UNDER A STRONG RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is America’s most successful domestic energy policy working to lower our dependence on foreign oil, keep our air clean, and provide consumers with more affordable fuel options that are also good for engine performance.
Since its authorization under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expansion under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the RFS has given homegrown biofuels a chance to compete at the pump, allowing consumers to select from a range of options at the gas station, including blends containing clean, homegrown ethanol.
Renewable Volume Obligations
Moving forward, a strong RFS is critical to supporting a competitive and open fuels market, benefitting our economy and consumers across the country. Efforts to repeal or weaken the RFS would undermine that progress, make the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil, and increase gas prices.
That is why thousands of POET team members and farmer investors work hand-in-hand with our neighbors across the heartland to urge members of Congress and regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the RFS. Each year, the agency is tasked with setting annual biofuel targets, known as Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), and it is critical that federal standards support the continued growth of U.S. biofuel production and preserve consumer options at the pump.
Point of Obligation
The RFS has worked for over 11 years to ensure that oil companies can’t lock biofuels out of the market, but some oil interests seek to undermine the policy and eliminate competition at U.S. gas stations. Recently, some refiners have sought to rewrite a key element of the RFS -- the point of obligation. Under this proposal, the responsibility for making clean, renewable biofuels available to consumers would shift from refiners and importers to fuel retailers. The change would impose a major regulatory burden on hundreds, if not thousands of fuel retailers and distributors, leading to higher consumer costs and fewer renewable options at the pump. At a time when rural communities are struggling with the sharpest drop in farm income since the Great Depression, we cannot afford to throw the RFS into chaos and eliminate the incentive for retailers to offer homgrown fuels at the pump.
Benefits of the RFS:
OPENING NEW MARKETS FOR U.S. EXPORTS & TRADE
Biofuels don’t just help farmers and ethanol producers stay competitive, they keep America competitive. In fact, America is now the world’s top exporter of ethanol, supplying more than one billion gallons (68,000 barrels per day) of fuel ethanol to our trading partners in 2016, an increase of 26 percent from the previous year. In nations like China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Korea, foreign leaders are seeking solutions to cut air pollution and displace chemicals in gasoline that form potent carcinogens when burned. Ethanol is the only alternative that can seamlessly and cost-effectively replace fossil fuels in today’s vehicles, and POET stands ready to help meet that demand.
That is why we support efforts to educate foreign policymakers about the demonstrated benefits of ethanol and its value to drivers all over the globe. We also support ongoing efforts to expand U.S. access to foreign markets and eliminate duties, tariffs and other protectionist trade barriers that prevent U.S. exports from reaching consumers overseas.