EPA Addresses "Blend Wall" with Reduced RFS for 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered the ethanol mandate and set reduced levels for other biofuels for 2014 in a proposal released Nov. 15. The reductions were a recognition on the agency's part that fuel consumption has declined over the last several years and that today's fuel infrastructure is not able to handle ethanol blends greater than E-10. It also served as an acknowledgement that certain fuels such as cellulosic biofuels have not developed the way Congress envisioned in 2007 under the Energy Independence and Security Act. 

For the first time, rather than establishing a specific target for the biofuels fuels, the agency established a range of acceptable levels of the fuels to be blended in the nation's fuel supply.

The proposal seeks comment on a range of total renewable fuel volumes for 2014 and proposes a level within that range of 15.21 billion gallons. Specifically, EPA is seeking comment on the following proposed volumes: 


Proposed Volume a


Cellulosic biofuel

17 mill gal

8-30 million gallons

Biomass-based diesel

1.28 bill gal

1.28 billion gallons

Advanced biofuel

2.20 bill gal

2.0-2.51 billion gallons

Renewable fuel

15.21 bill gal

15.00-15.52 billion gallons

aAll volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel which is actual 

Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said the agency's proposal would "alleviate the pressure of the looming blend wall.Yet uncertainty remains for the future. As we monitor EPA’s rulemaking developments, our work toward achieving comprehensive reforms and a long-term solution will continue.”

For additional details on EPA's proposal, http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htm.

More information on renewable fuels: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/index.htm.

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Brad Stotler

Stotler represents the truck stop and travel plaza industry on legislative and regulatory issues related to transportation, fuels, labor and the environment. Prior to his advocacy experience at NATSO and in the trucking industry, Stotler worked as a Legislative Aide on Capitol Hill for an Illinois Congressman. Stotler graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and has completed additional course work in a master's program at Johns Hopkins University.More
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