NPRA Voices Concerns over Ethanol Mandates

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NPRA Voices Concerns over Ethanol Mandates

02/02/2007
WASHINGTON -- At the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Transportation Biofuels Conference, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) will express its opposition to additional renewable fuel standards and the challenges it faces with the integration of additional biofuels into the transpiration fuel infrastructure.

The NPRA acknowledges that biofuels will be a strong, growing part of the nation's fuels. However, it opposes mandates on biofuels use, and instead, supports market penetration that is driven by marketplace economics. "An energy policy based on mandates is no recipe for success. As Congress considers expansion -- and proposed legislation to date calls for unprecedented expansion -- of the ethanol and other biofuels mandates, we request that you proceed with caution and prudence," said Charles T. Drevna, executive vice president.

As new biofuels enter the market, transportation and logistical issues will arise, as it is not distributed through pipelines due to corrosion and contamination concerns. "Any significant increase in ethanol production will result in more stress on the distribution system," said Drevna.

NPRA members are some of the largest users of ethanol, and as such, Drevna suggests three recommendations for the challenges the industry faces due to increased biofuel use. Congress should preempt state biofuels mandates and establish the federal Renewable Fuel Standard credit-trading system "to ensure that the distribution system has the flexibility needed to minimize costs for the consumer," said Drevna.

In addition, "Congress should defer any support for a renewable motor fuels mandate until it completes an analysis of the ozone impacts of these additional volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and potential impacts on maintaining attainment with the 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard," said Drevna, noting that when ethanol is blended with gasoline, it increases the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of the fuel, leading to higher VOC emissions, a precursor to ozone in the summer.

"NPRA recommends that Congress avoid mandating increased volumes of biofuels or a hastened implementation schedule for biofuels beyond that of the existing federal Renewable Fuel Standards," concluded Drevna.