OPMCA Connection - Keeping You Informed!
OPMCA Connection keeps you informed and current on regulations from all state and national agencies as well as laws pertaining to the petroleum marketing/c-store industry.
Candace McGinnis
Executive Director 

Hannah Fite
Director of Member Services 

6420 N. Santa Fe, Suite B
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Phone: (405) 842-6625 
(800) 256-5013 
Fax: (405) 842-9562
2018-2019 Board of Directors
Tommy Shreffler, Chairman 
 OnCue Marketing, LLC

Jerry Davidson
Pete’s Corporation

Jason Flinn 
Flowers Oil Company

Teresa Hollenbeck
Red Rock Distributing Company

Kurtis Hutchinson
Hutchinson Oil Company

Brian Lohman
ASAP Energy, Inc.

John Netherton
Danielson Fuel Services

Duff Thompson
AVP Metro Petroleum LLC

Rob Toth
Coffeyville Resources
2018 OPMCA Fall Outing
The 2018 OPMCA Fall Outing is quickly approaching! Be sure to register and book your room before it is too late!
Monday, July 30, 2018
  • EPA Offers RFS Compliance Relief

  • Secret Service Battles Against Skimming

  • 2018 Motor Fuels Excise Tax

  • Results from NCWM Annual Meeting

  • House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on RINS

  • Trump Administration Close to Allowing E-15 Sales Year Round

  • 2018 OCC Requirements

  • Federated Insurance Educational Articles
EPA Offers RFS Compliance Relief
Under pressure from the refining industry, on June 13th the EPA announced that it was scrapping a plan that would have forced large refiners to blend more biofuels into their gasoline and diesel in 2019 to compensate for volumes exempted under the EPA’s small refinery exemption program. Carrying those gallons of biofuel over to larger refiners’ obligated blending volumes for 2019 would have caused the value of RIN blending credits to soar, leading to higher prices at the pump. The plan would have raised the renewable fuel blending obligation for the refining industry to 11.76 percent from 10.88 percent to offset volumes lost under the waiver program, which was expanded under the Trump Administration. The announcement ends a wild chain of events that started last month when the EPA indicated that it could not force large oil refineries to make up for the amount of biofuel blending lost due to the small refinery hardship waiver program unless it receives authorization from Congress. A week later, the EPA changed course, stating that the agency could propose reallocating biofuel blending obligations to large refiners without Congressional authorization. Many biofuel groups have said the waivers have reduced the ethanol mandate which has driven down RIN prices. Midwest lawmakers, including Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), have been demanding that larger refiners take on more volume obligations to compensate for the biofuel volumes exempted under the program.  

Meanwhile, in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) from the EPA, the agency indicated that it granted 49 RFS exemptions to small refiners in compliance years 2016 and 2017, double the 1012 RFS exemptions normally issued by the Obama administration. The agency is unable to provide the names of companies being granted the exemptions due to confidentiality reasons.

Secret Service Battles Against Skimming
The Secret Service continues to lead the charge to protect consumers against skimming, a growing cyber-enabled financial crime that uses electronic devices to steal encoded information on credit cards to commit fraud. Criminals surreptitiously install the small devices, known as skimmers, at gas pumps where they are able to capture the protected data of unsuspecting victims.

Prior to the July 4 holiday, agents participated in a nationwide initiative to locate and recover illegal credit card skimming devices from fueling stations. Operations were conducted at locations across 21 states and involving 36 Secret Service field offices. Agents inspected pumps for illegal skimming devices. Fueling stations are considered to be a prime target due the frequency of use and the criminal’s ability to install the devices and recover the stolen data undetected. 

Because today’s gas pumps are typically unattended, developing suspects and making arrests in skimming cases is difficult - but not impossible. The Secret Service led a similar campaign to counter skimming operations around the country prior to the 2018 Memorial Day Weekend. That nationwide event led to the recovery of more than 70 skimmers. 

Special Agents and Investigative Analysts from around the country will continue to work closely with state and local law enforcement partners to minimize risks by informing the public and apprehending those responsible for credit card skimming operations. Credit card fraud is a Federal offense, carrying stiff penalties including heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences. More information for consumers who would like to report credit card fraud or protect themselves can be found here.

2018 Motor Fuels Excise Taxes
PMAA has received a number of questions about federal motor fuel excise tax rates and claim procedures recently. There are few key changes for 2018, including the one-time claim procedure for calendar year 2017 retroactive biodiesel credits which must be filed by September 29, 2018 and reinstatement of the oil spill liability tax back on March 1. The following link explains these changes and lists the per gallon federal fuel excise tax rates and environmental fees imposed on all motor fuels.  

Click here to view the compliance bulletin.

Results from NCWM Annual Meeting
Two weeks ago, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) held its annual meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On the agenda were items regarding ethanol flex fuel labeling, tightening the acceptable UST water tolerance level, requiring a dispenser number on a receipt, and skimming issues.   

Ethanol Flex Fuel Labeling
There were two proposed revisions to Handbook 130 relating to ethanol flex fuel (E10 plus blends) labeling at the dispenser. These revisions require E15 dispensers to comply with both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) labeling requirements for ethanol flex fuels and the EPA labeling requirements for E15. This is a requirement that PMAA championed in past meetings to eliminate confusion on the labeling requirements for E15 and minimize the potential for violations of the Clean Air Act and possible fines. These revisions were moved to a voting item by the Laws and Regulation Committee during the NCWM interim meeting in January and approved by the voting members at the annual meeting last week. In addition to EPA labeling requirements, PMAA continues to work to address the lack of specific requirements for the terms used to describe E15 as well as other higher ethanol blends. This is an issue that PMAA will continue to pursue as part of several other proposed changes that are being considered by the Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittee.  

UST Water Tolerance Level
A proposal aimed at reducing the water tolerance level in USTs from 1 inch to ¼ inch was withdrawn by the submitter. The proposed changes would have required a water tolerance level of ¼ inch for any gasoline containing ethanol.  

Dispenser Number on a Receipt A proposal to require an alpha or numeric dispenser designation to either be printed or hand written on a receipt was approved by the Conference.   

Skimming Devices
Skimming continues to be addressed by the Specifications and Tolerance Committee. This item has been designated as an Assigned Item for development by the Committee. A Skimmer Task Group is working on this issue; however, no specific proposals have been put forward. There was substantial discussion relative to this item. PMAA will continue to follow this issue.  

One additional item voted on and approved by the Committee were changes to Chapter G, Uniform Engine Fuels and Automotive Lubricants Regulation, of Handbook 130 to address inconsistencies, update information to be consistent with federal laws and regulations, ASTM and other consensus-based standards, and remove obsolete provisions. PMAA expressed concerns that while ethanol flex fuels are defined as blends of ethanol and hydrocarbons, revisions to the fuel specifications might make it difficult to discern when a gasoline is a flex fuel since the ASTM standards referenced only apply to ethanol flex fuels greater than 16 percent ethanol. This is an issue that PMAA will continue to pursue as part of several other proposed changes that are being considered by the Fuels and Lubricants Committee.

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on RINs
Last Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing to examine the use of Renewable Identification Number’s (RINs) as part of the RFS program. The witnesses included: Sandra Dunphy - Director, Energy Compliance Services, Weaver and Tidwell, L.L.P; Dr. Gabriel E. Lade - Assistant Professor of Economics, Iowa State University; Corey Lavinsky - Director of Global Biofuels, S&P Global Platts Analytics; Paul Niznik - Senior Consultant, Argus Media Incorporated; and Brent Yacobucci - Energy and Minerals Manager, Congressional Research Service.

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) stated that the hearing was “intended to promote greater understanding of how RINs fit into the overall Renewable Fuel Standard. In order to chart a legislative path forward, it is critical that the subcommittee first gather the facts and comprehend the various complexities of the RFS program.” Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) added that it was his “desire to move legislation that will pave the future of transportation fuels in the United States, and in order for this to happen it is important that we understand what RINs are and how they fit into the Renewable Fuel Standard – a program that in 2017, spurred the production of 15.8 billion gallons of ethanol and 1.6 billion gallons of biodiesel in the United States.”

In his testimony, Mr. Yacobucci spoke about the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the RINs market, stating that “whether you’re talking about refiners or biofuel producers, all the participants in the market have raised issues, in one form or another, about uncertainty.” When asked by Chairman Walden how well she thought the EPA was overseeing the RIN market and implementation, Ms. Dunphy stated that “the EPA does a pretty good job administering the regulations as they were written, but the RIN market oversight is missing. There’s really not any oversight of the trading activity of RINs.” Lastly, when asked by Subcommittee Chairman Shimkus if anyone believes there is a RIN market transparency issue, Mr. Niznik responded, “We track RINs transactions from real market participants reporting from actual trades, so that’s how we gather data on pricing. And still even at that level we can’t have the understanding of the full volumes of the marketplace at any one given time that would be able to elucidate any issues on market manipulation.” There was a consensus by most witnesses in the hearing that there are many flaws in relation to the RINs market and that Congress must pass legislation to fix the problems. The most significant problems that exist in the current RINs market are volatility due to commodity prices, uncertainty, and fraud.

In other biofuels news, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said last week that he will continue to work for changes in biofuel mandates that were sought by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, including policies such as counting ethanol exports toward annual biofuel quotas. 

Trump Says His Administration is Close to Allowing E15 Sales Year Round 
President Trump indicated last week that his Administration is close to granting E15 the green light to be sold during the summer months. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that President Trump agreed to allow the sale of E15 year-round in exchange for allowing biofuel exports to qualify for RINs generation. The ethanol industry immediately pushed back against any effort to cap RIN values and/or allow ethanol exports to qualify for RINs generation since any reduction in RINs will likely hurt E15 sales. In other words, for E15 to become a viable “new fuel” in the marketplace, the ethanol industry needs the 15- billion-gallon ethanol mandate to stay intact which maintains RIN values.  

RIN values have dropped significantly in recent months as the Trump Administration has granted many small refinery exemptions saving them millions of dollars in compliance costs. 

2018 OCC Requirements
October 13, 2018 is the deadline for new operation and maintenance requirements for owners and operators of underground storage tank systems for inspections of overfill prevention equipment, spill prevention equipment testing, containment sump testing, testing of release detection equipment, and walkthrough inspections. OCC has posted an information sheet and forms you can download at no cost from their website. Please note that some of these requirements begin October 13, 2018, but some must have the first inspection and/or test conducted by October 13, 2018. For complete information and to download the free forms go to the Classes, Forms and Guidance tab on the Petroleum Storage Tank Division's webpage at www.occeweb.com and click on the Compliance link.
Liquid Tightness Tests for Spill Buckets and Containment Sumps: Click HERE
Overfill Equipment Inspection Recordkeeping form: Click HERE
Release Detection Testing Recordkeeping form: Click HERE
30-Day Walkthrough Inspection Checklist: Click HERE
Federated Insurance July Educational Articles
Investigatory Suspension: Paid or Unpaid?
Click HERE to view the HR Question of the Month

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