Energy & Environment

EPA announces new biofuel blending mandate proposal

FILE – An ethanol refinery is shown on July 22, 2021, in Chancellor, S.D. The Biden administration set new requirements Friday, June 3, 2022, that increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply but reduce previous ethanol-blending requirements due to a plunge in fuel demand during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves, File)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday issued new proposed biofuel blending standards that would incorporate fuels used for electric vehicles for the first time.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires oil refiners to either blend a certain volume of biofuel into the national pool of retail fuel or purchase credits from other refiners participating in the program. The proposed standard calls for a blending mandate of 20.82 billion gallons next year, up from 20.63 billion gallons this year and increasing to 21.87 billion in 2024 and 22.68 billion in 2025.

The announcement was welcomed by the ethanol and renewable fuel industries, with Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper saying it “creates a clear pathway” to improve fuel sustainability.

“Once finalized, this rule will significantly accelerate growth and investment in the low-carbon renewable fuels that will help decarbonize our nation’s transportation sector, extend domestic fuel supplies, and bolster the rural economy,” Cooper said. “By including three years’ worth of RFS volumes, EPA’s proposed rule will finally provide certainty and stability for the entire supply chain.”

The proposal would also establish an RFS for electric vehicles for the first time, which would apply to EVs that use electricity made from renewable biomass. Reports that the EPA planned to add EVs to the program have circulated since earlier this year, potentially giving EV makers new access to the same suite of tradable credits available to the biofuel industry.

The RFS was previously set by Congress, but the statute requires the EPA to set volumes beyond 2022. In July, the EPA entered a consent decree with ethanol trade group Growth Energy, agreeing to announce a proposed new standard by Nov. 16, later extended to Nov. 30.

“We’re appreciative that the proposal restores the final 250 million gallons of biofuel demand that had been illegally waived in the agency’s 2016 rule – a long-overdue fix that began with 2022 volumes,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said in a statement. “Moving forward, our opportunities for growth across both conventional and advanced biofuels are linked, so it’s important that EPA’s volumes must reflect industry growth and innovation – especially when it comes to the rapid expansion of renewable diesel.”

Tags biofuel blending standards Electric vehicles Environmental Protection Agency Geoff Cooper Growth Energy Renewable Fuel Standards program Renewable Fuels Association
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