Oil industry huddled with administration to protest renewable fuel standard

Representatives from ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum and the American Petroleum Institute were on hand at the July 22 meeting, according to an administration record. 

By law, the Environmental Protection Agency was required to finalize its 2013 levels for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) last November, but the agency is months behind schedule.

The final standard is expected some time in August.

Under the program, oil-and-gas companies are required to blend biofuel like ethanol with conventional gasoline. By 2022, the standard calls for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be mixed with transportation fuel.

Advocates have cheered the program as a way to reduce the country's reliance on foreign oil and encourage utilization of alternative energy sources.

The oil-and-gas industry, however, has heavily criticized the EPA’s handling of the RFS.

The American Petroleum Institute document from the July meeting says that the standard “is fundamentally flawed and has become unworkable for 2013 and beyond.”

Companies have warned that the standard is leading to a “blend wall,” at which point gas producers are forced to make a blend of gasoline that consumers cannot use.

In the meeting, industry representatives asked the administration for more flexibility from the standard and to decrease the requirements for diesel, which cannot be blended with ethanol, according to the document.

They also urged for the EPA to propose and finalize 2014 standards “as soon as possible in a manner that makes 2014 feasible for all obligated parties.”