ATA, Others Oppose Bill That Would Drop Renewable Diesel Labeling

Stakeholders are concerned the move would leave trucking companies with no way of ascertaining the environmental attributes and sustainability advantages of the fuel they purchase. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

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American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association have asked U.S. Senate leaders to block legislation that aims to eliminate fuel pump labeling requirements for renewable diesel fuel, a move the groups contend would cause confusion for motor carriers regarding what’s being pumped into their trucks’ tanks.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Sen. John Barrasso — the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources — would repeal the Federal Trade Commission’s pump labeling requirements that ATA and TCA contend would cause diesel costs to rise and leave trucking companies with no way of ascertaining the environmental attributes and sustainability advantages of the fuel they purchase.

“In recent years, truck drivers and trucking fleets have purchased increasing quantities of renewable diesel,” said the joint ATA/TCA letter, dated Nov. 28. “In so doing, they have lowered the amount of money they spend on fuel, decreased their emissions footprint, and been able to quantify those reductions in response to regulatory demands or company sustainability goals.”

The bill, if it passed, would lead to a situation where wholesalers, retailers and consumers would not fully be aware whether they are purchasing renewable diesel or petroleum diesel blends, according to ATA and TCA.

Tom Barrasso


The bill, officially called the Renewable Diesel and Sustainable Aviation Fuel Parity Act (S. 4038), was introduced April 7 and has been referred to committee. According to congressional records, it has not yet been voted on by members. Barrasso has not responded to a request for comment on the proposed legislation.

The legislation was described in the Congressional Record as “a bill to increase the production and use of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, and for other purposes.”

“Eliminating the renewable diesel label at fuel pumps also would prevent trucking companies from complying with forthcoming federal regulations that will obligate many of them to calculate with precision the volume of renewable diesel that they consume,” the joint letter said.

In a separate letter sent earlier this year to Barrasso and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a group that included ATA, Natso — an Alexandria, Va.-based association representing the truck stop and travel plaza industry — the National Association of Convenience Stores; the California Fuels & Convenience Alliance; and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers, voiced opposition to the bill.

The trade associations in this April 7 letter said that eliminating the label at the pump would lead to a situation “where retailers and consumers are not fully aware whether they are purchasing renewable diesel or petroleum-based diesel — the price of the two would be the same, rather than renewable diesel having a cost advantage.”

“In light of the recent Securities and Exchange Commission proposed rule that requires certain companies to report climate-related risks, it is imperative that truck drivers have seamless access to information regarding the environmental characteristics of the fuel that they purchase,” stated the letter. “The renewable diesel label provides that information. Were it to be eliminated, it would be exceedingly complicated and expensive for retailers and trucking firms to ascertain the carbon footprint of their activities.”

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In a Dec. 7 statement, Natso spokeswoman Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman reiterated her group’s opposition to the bill.“Fueling dispensers should include labeling to indicate renewable content,” she said. “Fleets that are trying to manage an environmental, social and governance (either for themselves or a business partner) need to ensure they are fueling at appropriate dispensers and are able to account for the renewable gallons that are displacing fossil fuels.”

Glen Kedzie, ATA’s energy and environmental counsel, told Transport Topics, “Certain refineries that have converted facilities to renewable diesel want to make higher margins selling the product wholesale. But removing the RD label would cut into the fuel cost discounts that trucking companies get at retail. The label ensures that every gallon of renewable diesel is segregated from petroleum diesel through the supply chain. If they can commingle the fuel, fleets won’t know what they are buying and the cost will be higher because renewable diesel will then need to be priced the same as petroleum diesel.”

Kedzie added, “If producers can commingle the fuel they would be able to access a tax credit; however fleets would lose out. Fleets would pay a higher price for fuel and it would not be completely transparent as to what is going in the truck tank.”