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In a statement issued to CSNews Online by the trade group that represents the producers and supporters of ethanol, Buis refuted a letter written by Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) asking the Environmental Protection Agency to relax the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires biofuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year through 2022.
As CSNews Online reported last week, oil refiners must purchase Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits from producers of renewable fuels to comply with the federal requirements. However, the senators said the cost of RINs have risen recently, which they believe will ultimately force gas prices to rise at the pump during the peak summer driving season.
Growth Energy’s Buis rebuked these statements, saying they are untrue and simply represent "classic scapegoating by Big Oil."
"The recent hype and manufactured hysteria due to unexpected activity in the RINs trading market has drawn substantial scrutiny," he stated. "The oil companies were quick to blame the biofuels industry saying they were the cause of all this mess, and that the fallout from increasing RIN prices would increase the cost of gasoline by up to 10 cents a gallon. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Growth Energy's chief executive explained that RINs have nothing to do with gas prices. "In the midst of all of this hype, on March 19, AAA reported that the average gas price has fallen for 17 of the last 19 days, when gasoline hit its year-to-date high of $3.79," Buis wrote."That is in complete contrast to RIN prices, which are still fluctuating and often increasing. This negative correlation between lowering gas prices and increasing RIN prices is definitive evidence that RINs are not a factor in gas prices."
Buis went on to note that ethanol blended into fuel saves domestic consumers $8 billion per year. "Ethanol is not to blame, it is the solution," he asserted. "None of the recent press or inflammatory statements from the oil companies mention the price savings that ethanol has generated in savings to the U.S. motorist. The reality is that ethanol is significantly less expensive, trading at substantial discounts to gasoline – roughly 70 cents."
Ethanol is “a win-win for America” since it creates jobs and is revitalizing rural economies, according to Buis. Ethanol, he added, is also purported to be better for the environment and it reduces the United States' dependence on foreign oil.