WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A majority of American voters believe that shifting the point of obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from refiners to wholesalers and fuel retailers would harm the economy and hard-working Americans, according to a survey released today by NATSO, the national trade association representing truckstops and travel plazas, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
The survey, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), found that 86 percent of voters believe that changing the compliance requirements under the RFS, which is intended to reduce emissions and increase the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels, would increase gasoline and diesel prices at the pump. This change would hurt every driver in the United States, and, in turn, increase the price of many products for American consumers.
The findings also revealed that 81 percent of voters are concerned that shifting the cost from refiners who make fuel to wholesalers and retailers who sell it would increase fraud and the cost of overseeing the system.
"These survey findings highlight the underlying truth about the current rules under the RFS," said Lisa Mullings, president and CEO of NATSO. "A vast majority of U.S. voters agree that any shift would increase fuel prices for consumers, add complexity to the system, and increase fraud."
Mullings continued: "The current policy creates a strong incentive for fuel marketers to blend renewable fuels into the fuel supply while lowering the price at the pump for consumers. Changing the point of obligation would discourage fuel marketers from integrating renewable fuels into the fuel supply while simultaneously raising prices at the pump."
These findings are being released as some refineries and their investors, who failed to invest in renewable fuel blending facilities, are now displeased with their business decisions and are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to shift their costs to wholesalers and fuel retailers. More than 90 percent of voters agree, however, that refiners who make gasoline and diesel fuel should be responsible for compliance.
"No one wants to pay more at the gas pump to help a couple of refiners," said Ryan McNutt, CEO of SIGMA. "Refiners already charge for the cost of compliance when they sell their products. Let's not get fooled into letting those refiners collect money and then make everyone else pay for it again."
"People know it's not fair for refiners to push their compliance responsibilities onto local businesses and their customers," added Henry Armour, president and CEO of NACS. "That's why these survey responses were so overwhelming."
On December 1, 2016, a diverse group of associations that represents the vast majority of the fuel industry, signed onto a letter arguing that RFS compliance should not change. It is unprecedented for those who make ethanol and gasoline, as well as those who sell these products, to agree on public policy in this area.
PSB conducted online interviews from November 3-7, 2016, among 1,201 likely voters nationwide. The survey has a margin of error +/-2.83 at the 95 percent confidence level and larger for subgroups. Survey respondents were informed that the federal government uses the RFS to encourage renewable fuels to be included in the transportation fuels markets, and that the entities which import and manufacture those fuels (such as refiners) are currently required to comply with the RFS rules (e.g., "obligated party").
Download the survey executive summary: Penn Schoen Berland Renewable Fuel Standards Study
Download an infographic of the survey findings: Infographic
NATSO is the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate.
Founded in 1958 as the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), SIGMA has become a fixture in the motor fuel marketing industry. After fifty years of leadership, SIGMA is the national trade association representing the most successful, progressive, and innovative fuel marketers and chain retailers in the United States. From the outset, the association has served to further the interests of both the branded and unbranded segment of the industry while providing information and services to members. SIGMA's approximately 260 corporate members command nearly 50 percent of the petroleum retail market, selling approximately 80 billion gallons of motor fuel each year. These member companies operate throughout the United States and Canada.
Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.
Tal Woliner, Story Partners
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/over-85-percent-of-us-voters-agree-shifting-renewable-fuel-compliance-would-harm-consumers-300378240.html
SOURCE NATSO, Inc.