Carper Leads Letter Requesting FTC Investigate and End RIN Market Manipulation

Bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers assert market volatility hurts East Coast refineries like PBF in Delaware City

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, along with a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers, highlighted concerns regarding possible market manipulation in the compliance system used for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, known as the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market.  

In a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Acting Chairman Maureen Olhausen, Delaware’s congressional delegation of Senators Carper, Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.), as well as Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), asked the agency to investigate and end any possible RIN market manipulation under the jurisdiction of the Commission’s Petroleum Market Manipulation Rule.

The lawmakers wrote, “Over the past four years, RIN prices have fluctuated wildly. Since earlier this year alone, they have spiked over 200 percent. This price volatility creates great uncertainty for obligated parties, especially for merchant refineries like the ones along the East Coast that have limited capability to blend biofuels into their products and need RINS to comply with the RFS program’s requirements. East Coast refineries already face slim profit margins, in part, due to their dependence on international markets for crude feedstocks, high gasoline inventories and the competition they face from global refiners. Volatility in the RIN market only adds to the East Coast refineries economic concerns.

They continued, “RIN market manipulation hurts all parties and directly harms our constituents. That is why we urgently request that the Federal Trade Commission use its authority to address RIN market manipulation.”

The text of the letter is available here.