US made no cellulosic ethanol in '11, should waive mandate – NPRA

20 January 2012 23:29  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US should waive its cellulosic ethanol blending mandate for 2011 because the country apparently failed to produce any of the biofuel that year, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) said on Friday.

The NPRA filed a petition requesting the waiver, along with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Western States Petroleum Association.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required that refiners blend 6m gal (23m litres) into the nation's fuel in 2011, the NPRA said.

Refiners could pay the agency $6.8m (€5.2m) if they do not meet the mandate, the NPRA said.

However, citing the EPA's own statistics, the NPRA said the US did not produce any of the biofuel from July 2010 through October 2011.

"Refiners are being ordered to do the impossible – use large volumes of cellulosic biofuels even though none have been produced," according to a statement by Charles Drevna, NPRA president.

"Because they can't use something that doesn't exist, refiners are being told to pay $6.8m to EPA. We don't even know how the proceeds of this hidden de facto gasoline tax will be used," Drevna said.

"This mandate is excessive and harmful to consumers and will undoubtedly raise energy costs and could have a negative impact on fuel supplies. The time has come for EPA to approach this issue rationally and use good judgment when making a decision," he said.

The EPA has 90 days to act on the petition, although the NPRA asked the agency to reach a decision sooner.

The NPRA and the API sent a petition to the agency in February 2011, asking it to reconsider the mandate.

The EPA was not immediately available for comment late on Friday.

($1 = €0.77)

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