• Ron Kotrba

Petroleum Marketers Assn. of America changes name to reflect growing volume of biofuels in portfolio

The Petroleum Marketers Association of America announced Oct. 13 that it has changed the organization's name to the Energy Marketers of America to reflect the group's growing portfolio of environmentally friendly liquid fuels, such as biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), as well as other alternative energy sources helping to reduce emissions.


"Because of the wide variety of energy sources our members supply, our board determined this name change is more reflective of the products we serve and is long overdue," Rob Underwood, president of EMA, told Biobased Diesel Daily in an email statement. "The fact is, liquid fuels are part of the solution when it comes to emissions reductions. What EMA opposes are policies that promote one technology over the other. Research and funding for reductions in carbon emissions associated with liquid fuels should be treated with the same urgency as afforded to electrification."


Many legislators and regulators from the West Coast to the East Coast appear to have a policy preference toward electrification, whether for on-road transport or heating, and despite a majority of U.S. electricity still coming from fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal―only 17 percent of U.S. power came from renewables in 2019―they frame electrification as a "zero-emission" technology.


California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in September requiring all passenger vehicles sold in-state be "zero emission" by 2035, and the same for heavy-duty vehicles by 2045 "where feasible."


States in New England are promoting and pursuing electrification for home heating, despite the fact that all of the state associations that represent the dealers who provide liquid heating fuel to millions of homes in the Northeast have committed to a phased approach to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


"Addressing improvements in fuel efficiency and the carbon value of fuel will have a significant environmental impact," Underwood said, adding that EMA spans 47 states and its members own and operate 60,000 fuel stations across the U.S. and supply heating fuel to more than 5 million American homes and businesses.


"The small businesses they represent provide thousands of jobs and help Americans get where they need to go as well as keep them warm during the winter," he said.

Investments in cleaner liquid fuels helped reduce U.S. air emissions by 73 percent from 1970 to 2016, according to EMA, even as total miles driven nearly tripled.


"Innovative technologies will ensure liquid fuels are part of a lower-emission future for decades to come," the organization stated. "Policies and funding to reduce carbon emissions should be spread over all carbon sources and be applied to all fuels and energy sources equally. Research and funding for reductions in carbon emissions associated with liquid fuels should be treated with the same urgency as afforded to electrification, particularly since about 98 percent of vehicles sold in 2019 still rely on liquid fuels. Additionally, EMA supports policies and programs [that allow] the oilheat industry to provide more efficient and reliable heat and hot water to American consumers."


Underwood said lawmakers should consider a technology-neutral approach to emission-reduction policies they support. “The most cost-effective way to reduce emissions from transportation," Underwood said, "is to support technologies that do so for the vast majority of vehicles on the road."

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