Gasoline stations team up to fight ethanol mandate change

Source: BY TIMOTHY CAMA, The Hill • Posted: Thursday, April 6, 2017

More than two dozen companies that run or license gas stations are teaming up to fight a proposed change to the federal ethanol mandate that could hurt them.

The Main Street Energy Alliance launched Wednesday, with members including Cumberland Farms, Sheetz Inc., QuikTrip, BP, 7 Eleven Inc., the National Association of Convenience Stores and the truck stop lobbying group NATSO.

It is fighting an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that would shift the burden of complying with the federal ethanol blending mandate to fuel sellers — like the companies in the coalition — instead of refining companies.

The proposal to shift the so-called point of obligation for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has a high-profile backer: billionaire investor and President Trump adviser Carl Icahn. His fuel refining company, CVR Energy, stands to gain millions of dollars a year if the proposal is implemented.

The Main Street Energy Alliance is framing its cause as supporting small businesses.

“A small group of refiners and their investors are trying to push through changes to the RFS to line their pockets at the expense of consumers and small businesses,” Michael Steel, a managing director at Hamilton Place Strategies who is serving as the group’s spokesman, said in a statement.

“Shifting the point of obligation would add complexity for businesses, decrease the use of biofuels and potentially increase costs for consumers,” he said. “Many energy businesses and consumers on Main Streets across this country could be negatively impacted by this effort to reward just a small few.”

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA administrator, has avoided saying whether he supports the rule change, which is under consideration. But Icahn has said he helped pick Pruitt for the role, in part, because he believes Pruitt would implement the change.