Ethanol mandate for 2017 nears finalization

Ethanol mandate for 2017 nears finalization

The White House has started its formal regulatory review of the national ethanol-blending mandate for 2017.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said Thursday that it received from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the final volume mandate for fuel refiners to blend ethanol and other biofuels into traditional oil-based fuels like gasoline.

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The OMB review is the final step before the EPA can formally make the volume mandates final. It is required by law to establish the mandate by Nov. 30 of each year, but it has rarely met that deadline in recent years.

EPA spokesman Nick Conger confirmed Thursday that the biofuel mandate was sent to the OMB for review and said the agency plans on meeting the Nov. 30 deadline.

The EPA proposed in May to require that 18.8 billion gallons of biofuels be blended into the fuel supply in 2017, up to 14.8 billion gallons of which can be basic, corn-based ethanol.

The proposed level was higher than the expected ethanol production volume for 2016 but still lower than the amount that Congress asked the EPA to set when it wrote the renewable fuel standard in 2007. The agency used a waiver provision written into the law to propose the level.

Both the ethanol industry and the oil industry were disappointed with the proposal.

The final mandate that the EPA sent to the White House is still under wraps.

The package sent to the White House also includes the biodiesel mandate for 2018.