Feds boost biofuels mandate for 2017

Feds boost biofuels mandate for 2017

Federal regulators have increased the amount of renewable fuels they will require oil refiners to blend into the gasoline and diesel supply next year. 

The 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates a 1.2 billion gallon increase in the amount of renewable fuels blended into the fuel supply next year, officials announced on Wednesday. That’s a 6 percent increase over current levels. 

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In all, refiners will be forced to blend 19.28 billion gallons of ethanol, biomass-based diesel and other biofuels into the gasoline and diesel supply in 2017, a record total. The amount of convention biofuels, primarily corn-based ethanol, rises to 15 billion, the level envisioned in the RFS statue.  

The biofuels industry has long pushed regulators to increase the amount of their product in the fuel supply. 

The RFS is designed to increase biofuel levels annually, and the industry has slammed the EPA for moving slower toward those levels than the federal statue requires.  

But biofuels groups were pleased with the rule issued Wednesday, noting it requires more ethanol than the proposed rule EPA issued in May.

“The move will send a positive signal to investors, rippling throughout our economy and environment,” Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said.

“This announcement is a win for our energy security, the environment, the American consumer and American innovation,” Emily Skor, the CEO of Growth Energy, said. 

“We look forward to working with EPA, as well as the incoming Trump administration, to ensure the continued successful implementation of the RFS.”

Oil groups and refiners oppose the RFS, saying its environmental benefits are overstated and that they are already blending as much biofuels into the gasoline and diesel supply as is possible.

“We are disappointed that EPA has taken a step backwards with this final rule,” Frank Macchiarola, the Downstream Group Director at the American Petroleum Institute, said. 

“The RFS mandate is a bad deal for the American consumer. Today’s announcement only serves to reinforce the need for Congress to repeal or significantly reform the RFS. Democrats and Republicans agree this program is a failure.”

The industry hopes President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE and Republicans in Congress will overhaul or even repeal the standard, though Trump spoke highly of ethanol on the campaign trail last year.

Updated at 10:46 a.m.