Last year's spike in the price of ethanol blending credits cost independent refiners at least $1.35B, more than 3x as much as the year before, according to a Reuters' review of securities filings.
The tally is seen as a conservative estimate, since it includes only nine refiners that disclosed the figures; others affected did not specify the cost of buying RINs used to meet quotas for blending biofuel into gasoline and diesel.
The review also highlights how the impact was unevenly distributed, with independent refiners CVR Refining (CVRR) and LyondellBasell (LYB) alone bearing more than 20% of the cost although they account for 2.5% of daily U.S. refining capacity.
Valero Energy (VLO), with ~10% of U.S. refining capacity, spent ~$517M on RINs in 2013, and estimates it will spend another $250M-$350M on RINs this year.
The data may give the companies more firepower as they urge regulators to stick to an earlier proposal to cut back ethanol requirements after an outcry from biofuels companies.