The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed cutting the Renewable Fuels Standard target to 15.21 billion gallons. This aligns with the proposed cuts of an EPA document leaked in October and it compares to the 2007 RFS proposed a target of 18.15 billion gallons and the 2013 standards requiring 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended in the U.S. fuel supply.
The agency did not propose specific volume for ethanol made from corn, but the proposed change in advance biofuels implies a reduction in the corn-based mandate to around 13 billion gallons, which is also near levels in the leaked document. This would be down from the 14.4 billion gallons spelled out in law and the 13.8 billion gallon level in place for 2013.
The proposal includes a variety of approaches relative to setting the 2014 standards and includes a number of production and consumption ranges relative to the individual categories of biofuel within the RFS program. EPA is seeking comment on the following volume proposals:
||17 million gallons
||8-30 million gallons
||1.28 billion gallons
||1.28 billion gallons
||2.2 billion gallons
||2.0-2.51 billion gallons
||15.21 billion gallons
||15.00-15.52 billion gallons
|* All volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel, which is actual.
In August, EPA finalized its 2013 RFS percentage standards for four fuel categories. For comparison's sake, the 2013 standards specifically require: Biomass-based diesel 1.28 billion gallons; advanced biofuels 2.75 billion gallons; and cellulosic biofuels 6.00 million gallons.
EPA notes the following in its explanation of the 2014 RFS proposal:
"Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. is now "E10," which is fuel with up to 10% ethanol. Production of renewable fuels has been growing rapidly in recent years. At the same time, advances in vehicle fuel economy and other economic factors have pushed gasoline consumption far lower than what was expected when Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007. As a result, we are now at the 'E10 blend wall,' the point at which the E10 fuel pool is saturated with ethanol. If gasoline demand continues to decline, as currently forecast, continuing growth in the use of ethanol will require greater use of higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85. ... The 2014 proposal seeks input on what additional actions could be taken by government and industry to help overcome current market challenges, and to minimize the need for adjustments in the statutory renewable fuel volume requirements in the future. Looking forward, the proposal clearly indicates that growth in capacity for ethanol consumption would continuously be reflected in the standards set beyond 2014."
EPA is also seeking comment on petitions for this waiver of the RFS. EPA expects that a determination on the substance of the petitions will be issued at the same time that EPA issues a final rule establishing the 2014 RFS.
Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, it will be open to a 60-day public comment period. Once this occurs, it can be found here.
To look at the official proposed rule, click here.
Get more information on the standards and regulations.
For more information on renewable fuels, click here.