Renewable Fuel Standard and Octane Fuels Discussed at Hill Hearing

NACS counsel testified in a subcommittee hearing on the RFS and octane.

April 17, 2018

WASHINGTON – On Friday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on “High Octane Fuels and High Efficiency Vehicles:  Challenges and Opportunities.” Witnesses testifying before the subcommittee included:

  • Timothy Columbus, Counsel for NACS and SIGMA;
  • Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy;
  • Dan Nicholson, VP Global Propulsion Systems, General Motors, on behalf of the US Council for Automotive Research;
  • Paul Jeschke, Member, on behalf of the Illinois Corn Growers Association;
  • Chet Thompson, President & CEO, American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers

The purpose of the hearing was to examine the potential for high octane fuels and the vehicles designed for them. Members of the subcommittee looked at the impact of a potential transition to high octane fuels and vehicles on refiners, biofuel producers, automakers, fuel retailers and consumers. Both Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus and full Committee Chairman Greg Walden shared that legislation looking at fuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard is a priority for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Members on a bipartisan basis stressed the importance of understanding the impact on consumers when looking at changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard and introducing new fuels.

In his testimony, Tim Columbus shared the fuel retailing perspective and outlined the importance of the market and its role in shaping the appropriate fuel blends. Throughout the hearing, Columbus stressed that fuel retailers want to sell legal fuels in a lawful manner that customers want to buy. Regarding the potential for high octane fuels, Columbus stated, “In considering any change to the fuels market, it is relevant to consider how the market will adjust to meet new requirements. In the case of the octane solution, the key to successful retailer integration is the flexibility of the RON (Research Octane Number) regime. As previously discussed, if a fuel meets RON and RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) specifications, it is up to the market to determine which fuel blends are desired by customers.” To view his entire testimony, you can click here.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment is looking a legislation on the Renewable Fuel Standard and a proposal looking at high octane fuels is under consideration. More activity such as hearings and stakeholder meetings is likely in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more on these legislative efforts.