EVs Expand While Biofuel Credits Drop | Weekly News Update

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Volkswagen introduced their plan to expand electric vehicles in the wake of their 2015 emissions scandal. The future of the Renewable Fuel Standard comes into question as prices for RINs, along with ethanaol, biodiesel, and renewable diesel are dropping.

Volkswagen announces EV expansion plans

The electric vehicle (EV) race continues as Volkswagen (VW) announced their electric vehicle production plan early last week.  The plan states VW will add 16 production sites for EV’s by the end of 2022.  VW CEO Matthias Mueller expressed that VW will roll out a new electric model “virtually every month” for the next year to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world.  VW also made it certain that they will not be going “all-electric” and will still offer conventional vehicles powered by diesel and gasoline.

The aggressive move by VW may be linked to the pressure VW has been receiving from the emissions scandal that erupted in September of 2015.  It was reported that VW cheated on their emissions testing and was faced with a US settlement of over $14 billion to support 3 programs; $10 billion to the VW Buyback Program, $2 billion to Electrify America, and $2.7 billion to the Environmental Mitigation Plan.

Biofuel Credits See-Saw After Refiner Settlement

Early last week it was reported that a bankrupt Philadelphia refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), will be granted relief on biofuel laws.  It was agreed that the Philadelphia refiner will only have to pay half of its $350 million in outstanding compliance obligations under the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The RFS requires refiners to either blend biofuels or buy RINs to make up for the lack of biofuels blended.  PES claimed bankruptcy and blamed it on the rising costs of RINs.

There is currently a lot of uncertainty for the future of the RFS program as federal legislators debate its future.  As a result, RINs prices have dropped significantly in recent weeks.  Ethanol dropped about 35% since the beginning of the month as Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel dropped roughly 11%.

In Other News

3/12

WSJ: Truckers Propose a Gasoline Tax Increase to Pay for Infrastructure Plan

Trucking companies are pushing for higher fuel taxes because they worry the alternative would be more tolls, which truckers abhor. They face an uphill climb, as the last time the gas tax was raised was 1993, and many Republican legislators are dead set against tax increases of any kind.

Reuters: Oil producer Norway starts wage talks to avert widespread strikes

Norwegian employers and labor unions embarked on four weeks of wage talks on Monday to stave off widespread strikes that risk impacting output in western Europe’s biggest crude producer.

JOC: Europe trucking capacity crunch taxes shippers

European trucking is on a roll, with freight rates at a decade high and set to climb higher in the coming months as the $240 billion industry profits from a shortage of drivers that is cutting capacity against a backdrop of rising demand as economic growth gathers pace across the continent.

Bloomberg: U.S. Oil Export Surge Means OPEC’s Output Cuts May Be Doomed

Oil risks sliding back under $60 a barrel as a surge in U.S. shipments to Asia threatens to undermine a deal between OPEC and its allies, according to ING Groep NV.

3/13

Reuters: Biofuel credits see-saw after Philadelphia refiner settlement

Renewable fuel credits for 2018 rebounded from an earlier drop on Tuesday, fluctuating after a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted a bankrupt Philadelphia refiner significant relief from its biofuel obligations.

Bloomberg: VW Just Gave Tesla a $25 Billion Battery Shock

Volkswagen AG secured 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in battery supplies to underpin an aggressive push into electric cars in the coming years, ramping up pressure on Tesla Inc. as it struggles with production issues for the mainstream Model 3.

Reuters: Is OPEC moving the goalposts for its oil market scoreline?

Saudi Arabia’s proposals of new metrics to determine when the oil market is balanced signals a shift in OPEC’s targets for a pact on supply cuts that has almost achieved the initial aim of reducing bloated inventories.

Argus: Challenges loom for marine fuel change

Enforcement may determine demand for low-sulfur maritime fuels required under regulations that take effect in 2020, analysts told the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers’ conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Reuters: Oil jumps after Trump fires Tillerson, putting Iran in focus

Oil rose after Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, sparking a dollar fall and concern that a deal on Iran’s nuclear program could collapse.

3/14

Reuters: U.S. energy pipeline developers to seek exemptions to steel tariff

U.S. energy pipeline developers say they intend to pursue exemptions to the Trump Administration’s proposed steel tariffs, as concerns grow for those companies and from key exporters to the United States like South Korea.

Argus: Venezuela crude production sinks to new low

Venezuela’s official crude production sank to 1.586mn b/d in February, pushing the OPEC country further into historically low territory not seen since the 1980s oil glut.

3/15

WSJ: Oil Demand Set to Rebalance Surge in U.S. Shale

Global oil demand will likely grow faster than expected this year, partly offsetting a surge in U.S. shale production and keeping the market in balance, the International Energy Agency said Thursday.

Argus: Technology to cut costs, boost upstream resources

New technology can cut life-cycle costs for oil and gas production by about 30% by 2050, boost global recoverable resources by more than one third and make renewables increasingly competitive.

WSJ: Canadian National Railway Struggles to Make On-Time Deliveries

Service problems at Canadian National Railway Co., caught off guard by an oil-sector rebound, are causing severe delays in deliveries of grain, fracking sand, crude and other goods from Wisconsin to the Canadian west coast.

3/16

Bloomberg: Aramco Gets Cool Response on IPO From U.S. Investors

Investors pushed back at several aspects of the deal. Among the issues raised were the $2 trillion valuation Saudi Arabia wants for the world’s largest oil producer, the scale of dividends Aramco’s prepared to pay and the impact of the shale boom on oil prices over the next few years.

WSJ: Knight-Swift Buys Trucker Abilene Motor Express

The biggest truckload carrier in the U.S. appears to be back in the market for acquisitions.  Knight-Swift Transportation said Friday it is acquiring Richmond, Va.-based Abilene Motor Express for an undisclosed sum, bringing more capacity under the company’s control as strong shipping demand in the U.S. is driving up freight rates and carrier earnings.

This weekly publication is designed to highlight relevant industry news to provide professionals in the transportation, supply chain, and energy sectors with up-to-date information in a rapidly changing marketplace. This update is purely a compilation of industry news and as such, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Breakthrough®Fuel. We do not warrant or guarantee accuracy or completeness of information. For additional information, please contact us at info@breakthroughfuel.com.

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