The Biden administration finalized a rule Wednesday increasing the amount of biofuel that U.S. oil refiners are required to blend, but drew pointed criticism from the ethanol industry for not going far enough.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finalized rule requires refiners to increase the volume of renewable fuels they produce to 22.33 billion gallons per year by 2025 from 20.63 billion gallons in 2022, with incremental targets for 2023 and 2024. This mandate falls short of the agency’s initial December proposal of 22.68 billion gallons by 2025, and left ethanol requirements at 15 billion gallons per year, prompting a rebuke from industry groups like the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
“The [Renewable Fuel Standard] was intended to drive continual growth in all categories of renewable fuels well beyond 2022; instead, today’s final rule flatlines conventional renewable fuels at 15 billion gallons and misses a valuable opportunity to accelerate the energy sector’s transition to low- and zero-carbon,” Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA, said in a press release. “By removing half a billion gallons of lower-carbon, lower-cost fuel, today’s rule needlessly forfeits an opportunity to further enhance U.S. energy security and provide more affordable options at the pump for American drivers.”
We are disappointed in the @EPA‘s inadequate final ruling on biomass-based diesel volumes in the #RFS but thankful for the collaborative effort of industry leaders and bipartisan lawmakers which resulted in a modest increase for the 2024 and 2025 volumes. Read the full release:
— Clean Fuels Alliance America (@CleanFuelsAA) June 21, 2023
Tom Haag, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said the rule “falls short of the emission reductions and cost-saving benefits” of the proposed rule, in a press release. Iowa’s secretary of agriculture, Republican Mike Naig, issued a statement lambasting the rule for making only a “slight improvement” in support for biodiesel and renewable diesels.
“The EPA’s final RFS volumes fail to meaningfully expand access to homegrown, domestic sources of energy like ethanol and biodiesel,” said Naig. In addition to setting targets below current production and usage levels, “the Biden Administration chose to do so at the expense of ethanol, therefore pitting one biofuel against another,” he continued. (RELATED: Iowa GOP Reps Lobbied For Green Tax Credits That Benefit A ‘Megadonor’ Supporting Their Campaigns)
The EPA opted to maintain its current standard for ethanol because it expected demand for ethanol to fall, and that advanced biofuels would take on a greater market share, according to the finalized rule. The agency in April proposed a set of rules that it said would result in roughly 67% of all new light-duty vehicles, such as passenger cars, being all-electric by 2032.
“The final standards reflect all advanced biofuel production projected to be available taking into consideration growth in production capacity, North American feedstock growth, and the application of a portion of advanced biofuel production to make up for a shortfall in conventional biofuels in meeting the total renewable fuel standard,” the EPA told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “The increases across the years reflect that the majority of the additional production and feedstock capacity comes online in the later years, whereas the growth in the standards in the early years is more dependent on imports of advanced biofuel and/or its feedstocks.
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