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WASHINGTON, D.C. — A majority of voters believe shifting the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from refiners to wholesalers and fuel retailers would harm the economy, according to a survey released by NATSO, the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), and NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.
The survey found that 86 percent of voters believe that changing the compliance requirements under the RFS, which is intended to reduce emissions and increase the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels, would increase gasoline and diesel prices at the pump.
Another 81 percent of those surveyed are concerned that shifting the cost from refiners, who make fuel, to wholesalers and retailers, who sell it, would increase fraud and the cost of overseeing the system.
"These survey findings highlight the underlying truth about the current rules under the RFS," said Lisa Mullings, president and CEO of NATSO. "A vast majority of U.S. voters agree that any shift would increase fuel prices for consumers, add complexity to the system, and increase fraud.
"The current policy creates a strong incentive for fuel marketers to blend renewable fuels into the fuel supply while lowering the price at the pump for consumers. Changing the point of obligation would discourage fuel marketers from integrating renewable fuels into the fuel supply while simultaneously raising prices at the pump," she added.
The survey results come on the heel of some refineries and their investors pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to shift their costs to wholesalers and fuel retailers. However, more than 90 percent of voters agree that refiners who make gasoline and diesel fuel should be responsible for compliance.
"No one wants to pay more at the gas pump to help a couple of refiners," said Ryan McNutt, CEO of SIGMA. "Refiners already charge for the cost of compliance when they sell their products. Let's not get fooled into letting those refiners collect money and then make everyone else pay for it again."
NACS President and CEO Henry Amour added, "People know it's not fair for refiners to push their compliance responsibilities onto local businesses and their customers. That's why these survey responses were so overwhelming."
On Dec. 1, a group of various associations that represent a vast majority of the fuel industry, signed a letter arguing that RFS compliance should not change. According to the associations, it is "unprecedented" for those make ethanol and gasoline, as well as those who sell these products, to agree on public policy in this area.
Penn Schoen Berland conducted online interviews from Nov. 3 – Nov. 7, among 1,201 likely voters nationwide.