Ag Informer – Renewable Fuel Standard Slammed by Industry

On Wednesday, EPA released biofuel blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2023, 2024 and 2025. This is the first rule following the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which set blending volumes only through 2022.

According to the agency’s release, the final rule will reduce reliance on oil imports by 130,000 to 140,000 barrels of oil per day.

In December 2022, EPA, by court order, released renewable fuel blending proposals for 2023, 2024 and 2025. EPA received mixed reviews on its projections and heard public comment before it sought changes.

Here’s a breakdown of the changes from December 2022 to June 2023’s finale rule:

Cellulosic Biofuel
EPA says it looks to boost overall biofuel blending levels, but the final volumes include only 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels in all three years, with 250-million-gallon supplemental amount for 2023.

For 2023, the agency did increase the cellulosic level from December’s proposal of 0.72 billion gallons to 0.84. However, the agency decreased blending obligations for the years following.

The 2024 blending obligations sit at 1.09 billion gallons (1.42 billion gallons proposed in December) and 1.38 billion gallons (2.13 billion gallons proposed).

These changes did not meet the approval of some biofuel industry leaders, including Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

Biomass-Based Diesel (BBD)
In 2023, EPA will require use of 2.82 billion gallons of BBD, generally made from soybean and canola oil — just a 2.2% increase over the 2.76 billion gallons mandated last year, but no increase from the level proposed in December.

For 2024, the agency will increase the level to 3.04 billion gallons (2.89 billion gallons proposed in December) and 3.35 billion gallons in 2025 (2.95 billion gallons proposed).

Advanced Biofuels
This year, advanced biofuels will account for 5.94 billion gallons (5.82 billion proposed). That level increases to 6.54 billion gallons in 2024 (5.82 billion proposed) and 7.33 billion gallons (7.43 billion proposed) in 2025.

Electric Vehicles are Off the Table
In December 2022, EPA added renewable electricity to the RFS proposal for the first time. The agency said the plans were aimed at providing “clarity on how electricity would be incorporated into the RFS.

EPA chose to remove electricity from the RFS lineup, at least for now.

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