The EPA has 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 agency’s 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards, issued Friday, propose shrinking 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 this year.
The move is a big win for the oil industry, which has lobbied for a relaxed biofuel target. In August, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) petitioned the EPA to lower the 2014 mandate to avoid “severe economic harm that will result from exceeding the 10 percent ethanol blendwall.”
Projected to occur in 2014, the 10 percent 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.
Blending in more ethanol — such as E15 — renders the fuel “incompatible with today’s engines, vehicles and the multi-billion dollar infrastructure” in the US, the AFPM and API say.
In issuing the 2014 proposal, the EPA said it’s also seeking input on how to address the E10 blend wall.
Last month the API sued the EPA in the US Court of Appeals over the agency’s 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard, saying the rule mandates significantly more cellulosic ethanol than is available in the marketplace.
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