April Architecture Billings Down From March; API Wants Less Ethanol

Architecture billings are up, a good sign for the consumption of construction metals here in the U.S., while the American Petroleum Institute has some problems with the new EPA proposed ethanol standards.

Architecture Billings Rate of Gain Declines

The American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index fell in April to 50.6 from March’s 51.9 but still remains in positive territory. Any score above 50 reflects an increase in architecture billings which, themselves, reflect an approximate one-year lag between design work and actual construction projects breaking ground.

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Southern states showed the most strength, and the multifamily and commercial/industrial sectors saw the most billings.

API Calls on EPA to Limit Ethanol

The Environmental Protection Agency must do more to ensure Americans have access to fuels they want and can safely use in their vehicles until Congress changes the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, American Petroleum Institute Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola said following EPA’s proposal for the 2017 RFS mandates.

“Consumers’ interest should come ahead of ethanol interests,” said Macchiarola. “EPA is pushing consumers to use high ethanol blends they don’t want and that are not compatible with most cars on the road today. The administration is potentially putting the safety of American consumers, their vehicles and our economy at risk.”

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Higher ethanol blends, such as E15, can damage engines and fuel systems, the API said, potentially forcing drivers to pay for repairs, according to extensive testing by the auto and oil industries. The Congressional Budget Office found that consumer gas prices could rise by 26 cents per gallon unless EPA lowers RFS mandates. API is urging EPA to set the final ethanol mandate at no more than 9.7% of gasoline demand to help avoid the 10% ethanol blend wall and meet strong consumer demand for ethanol-free gasoline.

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