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April 1, 2014

The tally is in: Ethanol ‘blend wall’ cost refiners at least $1.35 billion

Last year’s spike in the price of ethanol blending credits cost independent refiners at least $1.35 billion, more than three times as much as the year before, according to a Reuters’ review of securities filings. The tally, which has not been previously reported, is a conservative estimate as it includes only nine refiners that disclosed the figures. Others affected did not specify the cost of buying Renewable Identification Number (RINs), paper credits used to meet quotas for blending biofuel into gasoline and diesel.

While it has long been clear that refiners lacking the facilities to blend their own fuel would end up footing a billion-dollar-plus RINs tab last year, the data may give the companies more firepower as they urge regulators to stick to a proposal to cut back ethanol requirements for this year. A final rule is due to be completed in the coming months, and some analysts say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could alter the proposal after outcry from the biofuel lobby. Read More

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