Refiners Blast Blends

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Refiners Blast Blends

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- While Congress places the final touches on an energy bill that will drop MTBE in favor of ethanol-blended gasoline, some refiners at a congressional briefing said the majority of the refining industry is not pleased.

Specifically, they criticized the agreement between the American Petroleum Institute (API), which represents major oil concerns, and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) that would require renewables, ostensibly, ethanol, to make up 5 billion gallons of the nation's gasoline pool by 2012.

Sinclair Oil official Clint Ensign, said at the Congressional briefing held Tuesday that non-API refiners were "not noticed or invited to RFS (renewable fuels standard) negotiations and meetings," according to a report in Oxy-Fuel News.

Valero spokesman Jim Greenwood added, "We weren't in the room when negotiations were developed. We felt that refiners didn't have a voice."

While API and key legislators in both political parties endorse the ethanol mandate, a number of downstream petroleum players and the National Association of Convenience Stores have mixed opinions. These groups support the end to a formal oxygenate mandate that led to the controversial MTBE additive, but they consider the ethanol mandate politically hatched to benefit the powerful agriculture lobby and cite the difficulty in transporting ethanol to non-midwestern markets.