BP Defends Renewable Fuel Standard

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BP Defends Renewable Fuel Standard


LONDON -- Although many petroleum companies and industry trade organizations have asked the U.S. Congress to revise and abolish the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), at least one Big Oil company is backing the legislation signed into law in 2007.

BP plc is defending the RFS, which requires increasing amounts of qualified renewable fuels to be integrated into the U.S. motor fuels supply, culminating at a minimum of 32 billion gallons in 2022. According to Bloomberg, BP, in a joint venture with DuPont Co., is set to start producing an alternative fuel by the end of the year. In order to preserve a market for this fuel, the two companies are jointly lobbying politicians to keep the RFS as is. In fact, the companies reportedly spent $13.8 million on joint lobbying efforts in 2012.

"They don't need to change the law," Paul Beckwith, chief executive of the joint venture called Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, told Bloomberg. The program "as it's currently configured is working, and there are good opportunities for increasing renewable levels beyond where they are today."

There are plenty of petroleum companies and trade groups on the other side of the ledger, though. Most recently, as CSNews Online reported, NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, sent a letter to Congress stating the RFS is outdated and must evolve to survive.

"The assumptions about the growth of the U.S. motor fuels market that informed the 2007 Congress have proven wrong and the program needs to evolve to reflect current market realities," NACS' Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger said in the letter issued two weeks ago. "Six years ago, there was every indication that motor fuels demand would continue to increase. Instead, it has declined by 7 percent since 2007 and is projected to continue to decline, making it even harder to satisfy the requirements of the RFS."

A panel on the House Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing about the RFS this week. U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) have already co-sponsored legislation aimed at repealing it.

"The Renewable Fuel Standard is fundamentally broken and beyond repair," Barrasso said in statement. "Instead of delivering meaningful environmental benefits, it's driven up food and fuel costs for American families."