WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment held a hearing examining the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act, a discussion draft led by Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) and Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) to reshape federal transportation fuel policies.
Shimkus and Flores have been working with a broad range of stakeholders with the goal of transitioning from a blend-specific fuel mandate to performance-based standards for future fuels and vehicles. NACS has participated in hearings and the listening sessions.
In two witness panels, subcommittee members heard from industry leaders, including the refinery community, ethanol, advanced biofuel and biodiesel producers, automobile manufacturers and fuel retailers. David Fialkov, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, and on behalf of NACS and SIGMA, Tim Columbus, senior counsel at Steptoe and Johnson LLP, testified and shared their insight on how the draft discussion would affect convenience and fuel retailers.
When asked by Shimkus if retailers would prefer lower or higher prices for the same exact product, Columbus responded, “Retailers want lower prices. We interface with the consumer every day and the simple reality is that the competition drives the price to the lowest possible level and that includes the use of feedstocks by mid-level blenders as well as refiners to generate the lowest cost of product for the consumer.” Read Columbus’s testimony here.
The subcommittee has held hearings and stakeholder listening sessions over the last year to try and find agreement between oil and gas, ethanol, retailer and environmental interests for a transportation energy bill. Though legislation will not move before the 115th Congress adjourns at the end of the year, Shimkus and Flores see their draft bill as a starting point to continue the process in developing a bill that could move in the new Congress.