2014 Renewable Fuel Standard Requirements Expected Soon

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) anticipates releasing its renewable fuel standard mandates for 2014 “very, very soon,” said Chris Grundler, director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality. EPA is required by statute to issue the annual renewable fuel blending requirements by Nov. 30, and the White House Office of Management and Budget has been reviewing the proposed rule since Aug. 30.  

EPA is considering requiring only 15.22 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2014 instead of the 18.15 billion gallons required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. However, EPA said no decisions have been made.

Several fuel industry groups and members of Congress have asked for EPA to scale back the requirements.

Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.,) Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.) sent a bi-partisan letter on Oct. 31 asking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to decrease the ethanol mandate in next year's renewable-fuel standard due to changing corn prices and higher compliance costs for refineries. “We must urge the EPA to adjust the normally rigid RFS to recognize market conditions and realities,” the letter said.

The letter is signed by 169 members of Congress and states that the mandate, which calls for increasing amounts of corn ethanol and other biofuels to be blended with gasoline, has caused volatility in the ethanol price market and diverted large volumes of corn away from agriculture. 

“Prompt action by the EPA can help to ease short supply concerns, prevent engine damage, save jobs across many U.S. industries, and keep families fed,” the letter states. “We strongly urge you to exercise your authority and take the necessary steps to protect American consumers and the economy.”

It further warns that increasing the amount of ethanol in the fuel supply will exacerbate the dangers of the E10 blendwall, the point at which the amount of ethanol mandated to be blended into the nation's fuel supply exceeds 10 percent, the maximum that can be safely used by all vehicles and small engines.

The American Petroleum Institute has asked EPA to require only 12.88 billion gallons of ethanol. In addition, API has warned the EPA that it will sue the agency if it misses the Nov. 30 statutory deadline. 

Renewable fuels supporters said any legislation that dismantles the Renewable Fuel Standard is the wrong policy, and they are urging the EPA to not to weaken the mandate. 

Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said it is bad policy for lawmakers to promote “next generation” biofuels over corn ethanol, because those newer fuels are dependent on the success of the entire ethanol industry to build the market, infrastructure and other support needed to get the newer fuels into the marketplace. 


Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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