Advising Lawmakers and Testing Policy

The transportation energy industry is complicated, and so are the policies that regulate the industry. We help policy makers understand how the business works and how the regulations they develop affect the supply, demand, distribution and price of energy. We apply our years of industry experience and our rich network of contacts to test and analyze developing policy. Stillwater Associates works to bring the energy industry and regulators together to develop effective energy policy.

Federal Policy Experts

Stillwater advises clients on Federal regulations like the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and Clean Air Act (CAA). From the carbon intensity of crude oil to vehicle tailpipe emissions, these sets of regulations govern the way transportation fuels are refined, blended, and sold.

Under the RFS, gasoline and diesel importers, refiners, and marketers are obligated to blend renewable fuels with their product at a percentage set by the EPA. We are authorities on the RFS and have studied and consulted on all aspects of the standard including the compliance market and the credits used to meet compliance, Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), available renewable fuel volume, cellulosic technology market readiness, the ethanol blendwall, and the Point of Obligation.

Under the CAA, all stakeholders in the transportation fuels industry are required to meet air quality emissions standards. These standards are variable by geographic location and are different for summer and winter blends. We are experts in air quality compliance areas and the market effects of seasonal gasoline blend transition.

California Regulatory Specialists

California leads the nation in clean air and climate change policy. California’s smog reduction efforts have led to the most stringent air quality laws in the country. The enactment of AB32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, launched the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and the Cap and Trade programs. These programs, administered by the Air Resources Board (ARB), are the models for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction efforts around the country. Stillwater is a leading expert in California air quality and GHG reduction regulations. We have studied the development of the LCFS and Cap and Trade programs from their inception and consult on behalf of regulated parties and policy makers.

Once the LCFS was under way, we saw the need for regulated parties and policy makers to receive regular data and analysis on the credit market and the evolution of the LCFS. In 2015, we launched Stillwater Publications to host our Stillwater LCFS Newsletter, a subscription service dedicated to delivering our unique analysis of the California LCFS and LCFS-style standards under development around the country.

Our experience runs deep

We understand these regulations and their impact on the transportation fuels market. Stillwater provides our industry clients with effective strategies to navigate the changing regulatory landscape. We provide our regulatory clients the transportation fuels expertise they need to create good policies.

Please contact us to learn more about our policy services.

Lead Team Members In Policy

  • David Hackett — President

    Dave Hackett is regularly sought out by policymakers for his expertise in the transportation fuels realm. He has offered his expertise to the California Petroleum Market Advisory Committee (PMAC); the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); the California Energy Commission (CEC); Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; the Bipartisan Policy Center; and Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) to name a few. Dave advises PMAC on petroleum market issues, has educated the EIA on the impact of the Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether phase-out, and created an analysis of the potential for a Strategic Fuel Reserve in California. He was retained by DOE to analyze the potential cost to transition the gasoline distribution infrastructure from E10 to E25 to provide high octane gasoline for next-generation automobile engines. DOE also sought Dave's expertise in writing the criteria for a Small Refiner Exemption provision for the Renewable Fuels Standard. Stillwater continues to analyze Small Refiner petitions since the inception of the program. Dave gained a thorough understanding of Hawaii's unique fuels market while reviewing that state's law that capped the retail price of gasoline. Following that review, he provided policy recommendations and solutions to increase Hawaii's market transparency. He has offered his analysis of West Coast gasoline prices to WSPA, and helped develop a baseline market assessment for biodiesel and renewable diesel markets in California for the CEC's Alternative Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology program evaluation. Dave is a prolific writer on topics of policy; he was the lead author of a paper describing the flow of petroleum fuels in Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) 5 and another paper describing the flow of crude oil in PADD 5. Dave is also the publisher of Stillwater's Low Carbon Fuel Standard Newsletter.

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  • Megan Boutwell — Vice President of Operations

    Megan Boutwell offers years of experience researching and writing about renewable and low-carbon fuels policy. As the editor of Stillwater's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Newsletter, she researches and writes about the effects of the LCFS and LCFS-style regulations under development around the country. Previously, Megan worked on a renewable fuels markets incentives project for the RAND Corporation during which time she developed a baseline market assessment for biodiesel and renewable diesel markets in California for the California Energy Commission's Alternative Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology program evaluation.

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  • Michael Leister — Senior Associate

    Mike Leister has contributed his policy knowledge to the American Petroleum Institute (API), American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Growth Energy, and the National Petroleum Council (NPC). He led an industry group for API in negotiating the ultra-low sulfur diesel regulations with EPA, has made presentations on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) Renewable Identification Number (RIN) balances each time EPA has issued new RFS requirements, and has worked with EPA on the RFS tracking process which later became known as RINs. Mike led the refining industry groups that worked with EPA in developing the recent quality assurance plan regulations attempting to eliminate RIN fraud. He has conducted classes to educate key EPA personnel on how the RFS works and developed tutorials for DOE staff to explain RFS regulations, the impacts of RINs, and the projection of future RIN pricing. Mike has conducted research and issued his analysis of the midstream and retail modifications required to roll out E25 vehicles and fuels, E85 and E15 programs that could enable EPA’s proposed RFS mandate rules to be met, and many aspects of proposals to move the RFS point of obligation. He also participated in a 2012 study for NPC about the future of vehicle and fuel technology for the transportation sector through 2050, providing input along with that from the automotive and oil industries, DOE, technology providers, NGOs, and academics.

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  • James L. Mladenik — Senior Associate

    Jim Mladenik has years of experience in policy advocacy and compliance with renewable fuels policy requirements throughout the industry. During his time at BP Jim developed a comprehensive Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) compliance strategy, was a key contributor to BP's advocacy position development in relation to both regulations, and created multiple risk analyses of the LCFS to guide the company's investment and advocacy decisions. He worked closely with traders to implement appropriate positions to balance risk and reward to the downstream business and created a structured framework for developing terminal biodiesel blend projects. Jim also led development of trading strategy for compliance with California's Cap & Trade Program. He served as Global Biofuels' North American commercial representative for development of global biofuels. Since joining Stillwater, Jim has offered his RFS and LCFS policy expertise to multiple commercial clients and to our LCFS Newsletter subscribers. He has created customer segmentation and gross margin analysis scenarios to identify what the RFS's Renewable Identification Number prices must be in order to enable commercial rollout of E-85 and developed analyses of the impact of changing the RFS point of obligation on various stakeholders in the supply chain. As an editor of and contributor to Stillwater's LCFS Newsletter Jim researches and writes monthly articles about California's LCFS and other LCFS-style regulations around the country. Jim is also a well-regarded presenter. At the 2016 Pacific Oil Conference he gave a presentation on the status of North American Greenhouse Gas Regulations (RFS, LCFS, and C&T). Jim has also offered expert analysis on international policy, assessing how the International Maritime Organization's global sulfur specifications changes in 2020 will impact crude oil demand and trade flows.

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Posts & News in Policy

California’s LCFS is successfully proliferating. Is it also successfully decarbonizing transport? - July 13, 2021 By Kendra Seymour As explained in our LCFS 101 Beginner’s Guide and LCFS 101 Update articles, California’s… > Read More
Changes to 45Q US Tax to Drive a New Wave of CCS Projects 45Q, Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS, LCFS - June 16, 2021 By Vaughn Hulleman Of the technologies which will help to achieve energy transition goals, carbon capture and… > Read More
Stillwater’s Projected Costs of the Approved HB 1091 Clean Fuels Standard - June 15, 2021 The Washington Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) has been signed into law, but the details of program implementation… > Read More