Ethanol plantSmall oil refineries often cite the need to raise consumer prices to combat Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations. However, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reviewed EPA’s method for determining whether refineries can qualify for RFS exemptions. Currently, the RFS statute says refiners that produce 75,000 barrels or less per day qualify for exemptions if they can prove that compliance leads to economic hardship.

The GAO report, based on compliance years 2019 through 2021, found that “small refineries do not experience disproportionate economic hardship from the RFS.” However, the study also showed that small refineries have paid more on average for compliance credits than large refineries. EPA will reassess GAO’s conclusion ahead of releasing the next round of volume obligations this month.

The decision could make a big impact on delivering a robust and uniform RFS.

Read more on the GAO study and its potential impact on RFS volume obligations here.