Another Way Biden Pushes Gasoline Prices Up

November 21, 2021

By Andrew Wheeler

Gasoline prices are the highest they have been in seven years and inflation is at a 30-year high, a double hit to American families. The Biden administration has aggravated the situation with new regulatory requirements on oil and gas producers as well as limits on domestic oil and gas exploration. But policy inaction also costs Americans at the pump. Consider the Biden administration’s failure to make decisions on the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Under the RFS, the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with the Department of Energy, sets the annual volumes of renewable fuel, such as ethanol and biodiesel, to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. Congress set the general RFS parameters into law in 2007, but the specific annual volume targets must be set by regulation for each coming year before that year begins.

The law also allows an economic-hardship waiver for small refineries—those with an average capacity of under 75,000 barrels of oil a day. These small refineries typically serve regional and niche markets, such as the Rocky Mountain States or rural areas like West Virginia. Their share of the gasoline supply cannot typically be replaced, without additional costs, by other refineries. The small-refinery waiver program has been as controversial as it has been litigious across each administration since the program’s inception. Ethanol supporters have claimed the exemptions reduce the ethanol supply while larger refineries complain of the increased burden placed on them.

Read the full article in Wall Street Journal.

Andrew Wheeler serves as Chair, Center for the Environment for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).