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US EPA proposes 2019 renewable fuel volumes

27 June 2018

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in 2019, as well as the biomass based diesel volume standard for calendar year 2020.

Under the proposal, the overall RFS biofuel mandate would be 19.88 billion gallons in 2019, a 3.1% increase over the 2018 levels. The biomass-based diesel standard (biodiesel and renewable diesel) for 2020 would be increased by 330 million gallons or 16% as compared to the 2019 standard.

Proposed and final renewable fuel volume requirements for 2017-2019
Category2018Proposed 2019Proposed 2020
Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons):288381n/a
Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons):2.12.1*2.43
Advanced biofuel (billion gallons):4.294.88n/a
Renewable fuel (billion gallons):19.2919.88n/a
Implied conventional biofuel (billion gallons):1515n/a
*Biomass-based diesel standard is final for 2019.

In setting the RFS quotas, the US administration is trying to achieve a delicate balance between the demands of the Big Corn and Big Oil lobbies. US corn growers were displeased that the EPA decided not to reallocate the volumes of ethanol that were exempted by the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt through the small refinery waiver process.

“While we acknowledge that the implied 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional biofuels like corn ethanol should, in theory, send a positive signal to the market, it comes with the backdrop of 1.6 billion gallons of demand destructed by illegal waivers to small refineries and no commitment that EPA is changing its approach to granting these exemptions,” said the Renewable Fuels Association.

The American Petroleum Institute said “EPA made the right call in not reallocating the waived small refiner exemption volumes, however the agency’s latest proposal for 2019 is yet another example—in fact it’s an annual example of a broken government program that needs a comprehensive legislative solution that includes the sunset of the program”.

Source: US EPA