|Biden Administration to Allow Summertime Sale of E15 Under Emergency Waiver
The Biden administration announced this week it is lifting the ban on summertime sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. The move is part of the administration’s larger plan to lower the price of gasoline ahead of the midterm elections. EMA has repeatedly warned both the EPA and the White House of the limitations involving the sale of E15 for the majority of retail gasoline stations across the nation. Those limitations include compatibility issues with existing UST system components, motorcycles, boats and small gasoline powered equipment and downstream supply chain disruptions.
In addition, EMA contends, and the courts agree, that EPA does not have the legal authority under the Clean Air Act to waive the 1.0 psi waiver to allow the sale of E15 during the summer driving season. The White House estimated that E15 could save a family 10 cents per gallon of gasoline on average. Midwest lawmakers and corn ethanol industry groups urged Biden to grant the E15 waiver last month. EMA also sent a letter last month to the White House urging caution when evaluating a summertime E15 sales waiver. CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER.
The EPA will issue a national emergency waiver to lift the existing E15 summertime restrictions before June 1 summer driving season begins. EPA would be lifting the ban temporarily since the emergency waiver authority is only allowed in 20-day increments. The White House said the agency plans to extend the waiver “so long as the current fuel supply emergency continues.” Environmental groups could challenge the waiver due to E15’s carbon intensity.
EPA is also considering additional action to facilitate the use of E15 year-round, including discussions with states and considering modifications to E15 fuel pump labeling. E15 contains lower energy content than E10 blends, thus erasing any economic benefit American families may gain.
The Biden Administration announced additional steps to lower prices at the pump:
Release of more than 240 million barrels of crude from world wide reserves over the next six months.
Regulatory changes to institute a “use it or lose it” policy that would force oil companies to pay fees on unused federal drilling leases that they hold without producing.
Accelerating the switch from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy by providing incentives for electric vehicles and funding research and development for large capacity batteries under the Defense Production Act.
Providing $700 million in grants to biofuel produces to ensure a sustainable market for biofuels made from agricultural products.
Providing $5.6 million for higher blend renewable fuel infrastructure.
Providing $100 million dollars in grants to retail gasoline stations and distribution facilities for the cost of installation, retrofitting and upgrading equipment compatible with E15 or higher blends and B20 and higher blends.
Provide funding for expanding railroad infrastructure to support a wider biofuel distribution network.
Providing $4.6 billion for the development of sustainable aviation fuels.
Regulatory changes to include canola oil to the list of approved fuel pathways under the RFS for production of renewable diesel, jet fuel and other distillates.
EMA is closely following implementation of the Biden plan to lower fuel prices and will report as more details emerge.
USDA to Provide $100 Million in New Higher Blend Infrastructure Grants to Marketers
The USDA announced this week it will provide new funding under the Higher Blend Infrastructure Program (HBIP) to help gasoline retailers and distributors to upgrade infrastructure for the distribution of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. USDA is earmarking $5.6 million in grants to seven states designed to expand the retail availability of higher blend renewable fuels by 59.5 million gallons. States included in the grant agreement include California, Delaware, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and South Dakota. The money is earmarked for the replacement of USTs and dispensers at retail sites in the seven states.
In addition, the USDA is making $100 million in new HBIP grants available to energy marketers nationwide. The funding will provide grants to refueling and distribution facilities for the cost of installation, retrofitting or otherwise upgrading of infrastructure required at a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends of E15 and greater or fuel containing biodiesel blends B-20 and greater. The new grants will benefit both motor fuel and heating oil marketers. Details on the timing and application process for obtaining HBIP funding is still being worked out by the USDA. EMA expects these details will be released shortly. EMA will monitor developments closely and report back as soon as the application process is available.
Last week, the House and Senate left Washington, DC for a two-week recess period. While members are spending the weeks campaigning in the district, many are preparing for what the remainder of this year’s legislative session may hold. A priority for many Republicans and Democrats is passing the U.S. China Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) aimed to better position US competitiveness towards China by investing in semiconductors, R&D, and education.
Refundable Tax Credit for Truck Drivers Bill Introduced
A second priority for Democrats is passing some version of the stalled Build Back Better (“BBB”) Act. As we have reported previously, moderate Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ) continue to withhold support for President Biden’s large tax-and-spend reconciliation package. However, Senator Manchin has said that he is outlining a slimmed down version of the BBB that would include $500 billion in clean energy investments, with a focus on innovation and not elimination (meaning not specifically punishing or eliminating oil, gas, and coal production). While Senator Manchin can certainly influence the future of the BBB, his proposal would be paid for, in part, by increasing taxes on corporations, capital gains, and the wealthiest Americans. Senator Sinema has been adamant in her opposition to any tax increase.
On 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, President Biden is confronted the ongoing Ukraine/Russia conflict and rising inflation. This week, inflation surged to 8.5 percent, the highest in over 40 years.
Recently, Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced bipartisan legislation to address the current truck driver shortage in the United States by establishing a refundable income tax credit for qualified commercial truck drivers. “The Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act” would create a new refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A CDL who drive at least 1,900 hours and up to $10,000 for new truck drivers enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship. The refundable tax credit would be available for truck drivers, not companies, in tax years 2022 and 2023.
Compliance with Synthetic Nicotine Requirements in Effect
Unfortunately, the bill does not apply to Class B CDL holders driving straight trucks to qualify for the $7,500 refundable tax credit which means heating oil truck drivers are not eligible for the tax credit. EMA is confident changes will be made to include heating oil truck drivers, and if corrected, EMA will support this needed legislation. For additional details, click here.
On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed H.R. 2471 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022. As a result, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) now includes specific language that makes clear the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can, as of March 15, regulate tobacco products containing nicotine from any source. This law took effect yesterday, April 14, 2022.
Now manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers of tobacco products containing synthetic nicotine—must ensure compliance with applicable requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) resulting from this law, such as:
Not selling these products to persons under 21 years of age (both in-person and online).
Not marketing these products as modified risk tobacco products without FDA’s authorization; and
Not distributing free samples of these products.
Manufacturers of synthetic nicotine who wish to market their products are required to submit a premarket application and obtain FDA authorization by May 14, 2022, or they will be subject to FDA enforcement. If a manufacturer does not submit a PMTA by the May 14th deadline, retailers then must remove the product from shelves or else they could also be subject to FDA enforcement. Convenience store owners selling synthetic nicotine products should contact the manufacturers to verify whether a PMTA has been submitted or not.
The Storm Preparedness Workshop
EMA members are invited to attend a small group virtual workshop that will engage you with six seasoned storm response professionals who have worked with industry and government for decades and are eager to share their proven strategies, experiences, and knowledge.
What You Will Learn:
Understand the processes that the electric sector uses during the preparedness phase and how to integrate the processes into your own planning efforts
Discuss what other sectors you rely upon and how to communicate with them
What are the strategic objectives in the preparedness phase and what tactical activities are required
What to consider in your action plan (EOC readiness, continuity plans, leadership availability, fleet size)
How to ready your team and how big your team should be
What resources you will need and where to place them
What you can expect regarding financial implications
What you should be communicating, and to whom
How to leverage situational awareness by understanding what neighboring industries are most likely doing to prepare, and when to ask for help
What data and systems you should be checking (i.e. traffic data)
To register, please click here.
Bill Introduced to Ensure Truckers Receive Overtime Pay
This week, Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) introduced “The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act” that would repeal the motor carrier overtime exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The legislation aligns with DOT’s recent recommendation that Congress eliminate the exemption because “employers are not required to pay overtime to many truck drivers.” Click here for the story.
EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction
Energy Marketers of America (EMA) Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Co-Chairs Mike Downs and Tim Keigher hope that you are looking forward to the EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction that will begin online next week! There are many generous auction items – something of interest for everyone!
Federated Insurance Risk Management Academy Webinar
We want to remind you about our format for the Annual Silent Auction and Raffle. This will be our fourth year with C2Auctions. They will organize the EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction during our EMA Day on the Hill Virtual Conference. All EMA members will be eligible to participate from anywhere in the United States if they download the C2Auction App on their mobile phone. We will provide a mobile link to all EMA Association Executives next week, prior to the online only portion of the event.
The Auction will take place in conjunction with EMA’s Washington Conference May 17-19 and bidding will start April 18 and close May 19 at 9 am. The auction items will be displayed at the Welcome Reception on May 17. Last year there was tremendous support in contributions for the auction and EMA SBC PAC Co-Chairs Mike Downs and Tim Keigher urge your participation this year as well! Mike and Tim wish to remind you that donations can include use of personal vacation properties.
If you have items that you would like to contribute for the Silent Auction, please contact Sabrina Pitcher at 703-351-8000.
Is Your Fleet Best in Class?: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 1:00 p.m. CT
Driving-related incidents continue to be a massive problem for businesses, and our society as a whole. With a fresh approach toward the continued efforts to reduce driving-related incidents, the presentation discusses the role of leadership within a company, and how that relates to changing/improving driving behaviors. Join us for this online seminar, and we will give you some unique concepts to take back to your businesses to fine-tune and implement. Do not wait for a tragedy to take action; commit to making a difference right now.
What you will learn:
Why leaders have an opportunity (or obligation) to effect positive change
What the “human element” is, and why it matters most
Specific strategies for changing/improving behavior within the context of fleet/driver management
Why you need to take action now
Advanced registration is required for this 60-minute webinar.
Please Make Your Hotel Reservation and Register Now for EMA’s Washington Conference and Day on the Hill: May 17-19, 2022
Please always feel free to contact your Federated regional representative or EMA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472 for any additional information or risk management questions. Federated is a Partner in EMA’s Board of Directors Council.
EMA’s annual Washington Conference and Day on the Hill will be held in Washington, DC from May 17-19 at The Mayflower Hotel. Our industry continues to have dozens of important legislative and regulatory issues to discuss and the Day on the Hill continues to be the primary focus of this conference. While there will be a different process for Hill visits, we are thrilled to be able to host this event after two years of distancing.
THANK YOU to EMA’s Partner Sponsors for Washington Conference!
The meeting will begin with an Opening Session / Issues Briefing and Region meetings in the afternoon of May 17. Our welcome reception, including our fun and popular PAC silent auction fundraiser, concludes the day! On the morning of May 18, marketers will head to Capitol Hill for visits with their Congressional delegations after a buffet breakfast and issues briefing for those who were not able to attend the opening session. There will be a hospitality suite and luncheon on the Hill. On the evening of May 18, we will feature our 2022 EMA Chair Tommy Thompson along with honoring our other Past Chairs in attendance. Our conference will conclude after the EMA Board of Directors meet on May 19 following a buffet breakfast and committee meetings.
The Mayflower Hotel room block is at 90 percent capacity with two nights currently sold out. Please email any cancellations or arrival and departure changes to Susan Isard, who will manage them with The Mayflower Hotel so we are sure they are handled properly and stay in the EMA room block. We are excited that over 214 members and Corporate Partners have made hotel reservations and over 163 members, their guests and Corporate Partners have registered for the meeting. For those who have not, please be sure to register for the meeting at your earliest convenience! Reservation and registration deadline is April 25, 2022 or until sold out or at capacity, whichever comes first!
You can find all available details for Washington Conference and Day on the Hill here. Invitations were sent out February 9, March 8 and April 7 to members and Corporate Partners who have attended EMA Conferences in the past. Another invitation will go out soon.
Please make your room reservations and register for the meeting now to attend this important and productive forum to meet with your members of Congress and network with other marketers from across the country! See you in DC soon!
EMA wants to give a huge THANK YOU to our EMA Board of Directors Council and Executive Committee Council Corporate Partner Sponsors: Federated Insurance, Reynolds American, Motiva, Altria Group Distribution Company and Marathon Petroleum! A special THANK YOU to our Elite Sponsors for this meeting only: Spirit Petroleum, Patriot Capital and Meridian Associates!
EMA and the Georgia Oilmen’s Association (GOA) want to extend a special THANK YOU to the Motiva for the reception honoring our 2022 EMA Chair Tommy Thompson.
We appreciate the loyalty and support of each of our EMA Corporate Partners and their continuous commitment to the energy sector. For more information on our Partner Programs, please contact Susan Isard.