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Washington Report: Senate Introduces Domestic Fuels Act

The NACS-supported legislation provides fuel retailers with the opportunity to sell new fuels in a responsible and legal manner.
March 30, 2012

WASHINGTON - Legislation that would allow retailers to offer new fuels with a lower cost of entry and a lower risk of liability �" the Domestic Fuels Act of 2012 �" was introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday (S. 2264).

Attendees of last week��s successful NACS Day on Capitol Hill event brought this issue to the attention of their members of Congress, noting that this legislation would provide fuel retailers with the opportunity to sell new fuels in a responsible and legal manner. One of the key challenges facing retailers who want to sell new fuels, like higher ethanol blends above E10, which will be necessary to meet the mandated 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels that must be available in the marketplace by 2022, is equipment compatibility. Also, retailers can be held liable under Clean Air Act regulations if a customer misfuels their vehicle with a new fuel.

The Domestic Fuels Act is "fuel neutral" legislation that ensures Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) equipment compatibility guidelines are recognized, protects retailers from misfueling liability and prevents retroactive liability if a fuel sold today is later declared defective.

For two years NACS has been working with a broad coalition including the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, API, Growth Energy, NATSO, OPEI, PMAA, the Renewable Fuels Association and SIGMA to develop this legislation. The coalition thanked House and Senate supporters of the bill for their leadership, as well as their hard work on helping the fuels and engine industries resolve some of the challenges they face in complying with a myriad of regulatory and statutory requirements.

"The Domestic Fuels Act is a critical step in removing some of the technical barriers complicating the effort to bring new fuels to market. In particular, this bill will save many retailers across the country from needlessly investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace equipment that does not need to be replaced; it will protect innocent parties from certain liabilities associated with misfueling when consumers are informed about fuels that are approved for only certain engines; and it will establish that an entity who complies with today��s laws and regulations cannot be held retroactively liable even if those laws and regulations change tomorrow," the coalition wrote.

Original sponsors of the Senate bill are John Hoeven (R-ND), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Mike Johanns (R-NE). (The House of Representatives adjourned for recess before the legislation could be finalized and introduced in that chamber. Original sponsors of that bill will be John Shimkus (R-IL), Mike Ross (D-AR), John Sullivan (R-OK) and Collin Peterson (D-MN). NACS will alert members once that legislation is officially introduced.)

Tell your senators to support S. 2264. For more information about the legislation and for talking points, contact NACS Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger.