The oil industry’s campaign to undermine the growth of domestically produced renewable fuels such as ethanol has certainly been ramped up lately. Today they’re callously capitalizing on the financial woes of one of the oldest and least efficient refineries in the country, holding it up as a poster child to undermine public support for the nation’s renewable fuel policy. Peter Weyrich apparently drank the Kool-Aid and is also blaming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ troubles (“Securing American energy dominance,” Web, Jan. 31).
PES has been in financial peril for decades. The taxpayers have bailed it out every time. It operates one of the nation’s oldest refineries, is handicapped by hopelessly antiquated technology and is captive to the higher-priced, imported Brent crude index while other profitable refiners have assured supplies of the less-expensive U.S. WTI crude index.
PES management made a decision years ago to fight the RFS rather than comply with it. PES could have made a one-time investment of roughly $40 million to install the infrastructure needed to store and blend required volumes of renewable fuels under the RFS. Instead, it spent $832 million to buy credits from its competitors who had over-complied. PES has a management problem, not an RFS problem.
The RFS is working as intended and is in fact the very definition of American energy. Thanks to the program, last year ethanol displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 560 million barrels of imported crude oil, supported 357,493 American jobs and generated $44 billion in gross domestic product.
Without the RFS, consumers would be left without any choice at the pump and all those energy, environmental and economic benefits would disappear. I doubt Mr. Weyrich wants that future.
Renewable Fuels Association
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