To paraphrase Valero Energy Company CEO Bill Klesse: Enough already on federal ethanol blend mandates!
Klesse has joined efforts with Big Oil colleagues to push back on the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to bring E15 – a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline – to gas pumps across the country. Klesse recently sent a letter to the EPA asking for an immediate waiver to the ethanol mandate rules so that oil refiners do not have to blend more ethanol into the gasoline they're producing or buy biofuel credits. Those mandates are, "causing a very unfair wholesale and retail market, picking winners and causing losers, based on existing assets and luck," Klesse wrote in a letter to the EPA.
Valero is the nation's largest independent oil refiner, and is also the third largest ethanol producer. The company owns 10 ethanol plants and produces 1.1 million gallons of corn ethanol each year. Even so, Klesse has been lobbying the federal government to drop the ethanol mandate and says refiners can't afford to meet the renewable energy standards. Valero isn't the only oil company that is unhappy about buying Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits or producing more ethanol to make E15. It's little surprise that Big OIl's fight with the ethanol industry continues, even when one company is participating in both sides.
Even US Senators are getting involved with the biofuel RIN credit debate. According to Reuters, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) are both asking for more information from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the EPA, respectively. That was before the US federal government was shut down (including many EPA workers), so who knows when we may get some answers.