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Renewable Fuel Standard Inaction Increasing GHG Emissions, Study Says

gas stationThe EPA’s inaction on finalizing the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions of 21 million metric tons CO2 equivalent, according to a Biotechnology Industry Organization white paper.

The white paper updates earlier published estimates of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the agency’s proposal to reduce biofuel use during 2014. 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.

Last year, the EPA proposed a reduction in the use of biofuels to avoid hitting the blend wall, which refers to the difficulty in blending more than 10 percent ethanol into the fuel supply. Most gasoline sold in the US today is E10. The 2014 proposal has yet to be finalized.

BIO’s Brent Erickson, says “the blend wall is an invention of the oil industry and has simply been a red herring.”

In March, Erickson and coauthors published the study, Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Proposed Changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard Through 2022. That study demonstrated that if EPA reduced biofuel use under the RFS, as the agency proposed in November 2013, the United States would experience an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and forego an achievable decrease in emissions.

The new white paper updates the results of that study, using new data on transportation fuel demand for 2013 and 2014. The US is now projected to use 2 billion gallons more gasoline and 0.5 billion gallons more diesel in 2014 than previously projected, the study says.

Photo Credit: gas station via Shutterstock

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