The return of fuel demand to pre-pandemic levels and the slower rebound of crude oil and fuel production has created concerns about whether supplies of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel will be sufficient to meet global demand. U.S. refineries are up and running at near maximum utilization. Other major refining countries, for a variety of reasons, have not kept pace bringing their facilities back into operation or resuming sales of fuel to the market. As a result, wholesale fuel prices have increased and so have refinery “crack spreads."
AFPM President and CEO Chet Thompson and API President and CEO Mike Sommers sent a letter to President Biden responding to recent letters the Administration sent to major U.S. fuel refiners suggesting that these companies, their workforces and facilities throughout the country aren’t doing their part to bring fuel to the market and lower energy costs for consumers.
We are surprised and disappointed by the President’s letter. Any suggestion that U.S. refiners are not doing our part to bring stability to the market is false. We would encourage the Administration to look inward to better understand the role their policies and hostile rhetoric have played in the current environment.
COVID-19 upended energy markets. Demand disappeared and producers scaled back. Now that economies are reopening, and the demand for goods and services is rebounding, the demand for energy all along the supply chain is increasing, driving up not only the cost of the feedstocks and fuels refineries and petrochemical manufacturers use, but also the cost of the energy used at every step of the supply chain.
The Renewable Fuel Standard is more expensive in 2021 than at any other point in the program’s 15-year history. Soaring RFS prices signal that the RIN bank could run dry.
The biofuel industry, facing poor margins due to overproduction and declining exports, is trying various tactics to force more ethanol and biodiesel into the U.S. fuel supply.