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EPA Delays Renewable Fuel Mandate

gas stationThe EPA on Friday delayed finalizing the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard until next year.

The rule tells refiners how much biofuels must be blended into the US fuel supply.

Last year the agency proposed reducing the amount of ethanol blended into the US fuel supply for the first time since the renewable fuel requirements were passed by Congress in 2007. The proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard would shrink the volume of renewable fuel to 15.21 billion gallons, about 3 billion fewer gallons than the 18.15 billion mandated by the 2007 law. The 2014 target is down from 16.55 billion gallons in 2013.

In September, a Biotechnology Industry Organization white paper warned the EPA’s inaction on finalizing the 2014 rule would lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions of 21 million metric tons CO2 equivalent. It says the blend wall should not be a consideration for setting the RFS, because the US is using more transportation fuel in 2014 than previously projected.

The blend wall refers to the difficulty in blending more than 10 percent ethanol into the fuel supply. Most gasoline sold in the US today is E10.

BIO, in response to the EPA’s Friday announcement, said the decision to punt the RFS final rule to 2015 “continues the atmosphere of uncertainty for the advanced biofuel industry.”

The oil industry, which has pressured the agency to lower the ethanol blend mandate or ditch the standard, said it plans to sue the EPA for not issuing the 2014 RFS regulations.

“The Obama administration’s decision to further delay issuing the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO), as legally required, is a gross dereliction of responsibility that leaves fuel refiners and the biofuels industry alike to navigate a course of ambiguity,” said American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers president Charles T. Drevna. “The Administration’s inaction demonstrates once again that the non-functioning Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program is irreparably broken. AFPM calls upon Congress to expeditiously resume work on repealing or significantly reforming the RFS. In the meantime, AFPM will seek legal intervention.”

Photo Credit: gas station via Shutterstock

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