EPA Proposes RFS Volumes for 2023-2025 With Modest Boost for Conventional Ethanol; Not Everyone is Happy

The EPA is finally out with proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2023 through 2025, and the ethanol industry is mostly pleased. “A clear pathway for sustainable growth” and an “upward trajectory” for clean fuels. That’s the take of the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy on EPA’s long-delayed RFS proposal.

But RFA CEO Geoff Cooper admits the three years’ worth of targets for conventional ethanol growth are modest. Cooper; “Some growth is better than no growth. So, to see the proposal today with growth, albeit modest, we think is a positive signal.”

The American Soybean Association expressed “deep disappointment,” citing “insignificant volume increases” halting any growth for advanced biofuels outside of biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels. But the RFA’s Cooper says having three years’ worth of proposed RFS volumes is a plus for the biofuels supply chain.

Cooper; “We see it as really creating a clear pathway for the future of the Renewable Fuels Standard and finally creating some certainty and stability.”

Cooper says EPAs proposal leaves room for sustainable aviation fuel and boosts changes for legislation to allow year-round sales of E15. Cooper; “It’s going to stimulate the marketplace to rapidly expand its offerings of E15, and, again, that’s why it’s so important that we get a permanent resolution to this ridiculous summertime barrier that has slowed growth of E15 in the past.”

Clean Fuels Alliance America criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2023 through 2025 for undercutting investments in biodiesel and renewable diesel capacity. The minor increase for biomass-based diesel volumes in 2023, 2024, and 2025 are below the industry’s existing production and ignores the clean fuels industry’s significant investments in new capacity.

The group says those volumes provide no additional space for sustainable aviation fuel and short-circuit the nation’s carbon emission goals.

“The volumes EPA proposed ignore the over three billion gallons currently in the market and fail to account for the planned growth of the sector,” says Kurt Kovarik, CFA vice president of federal affairs. “The soybean and canola industries invested over $4 billion to bring additional feedstock capacity online in the future.”

An additional 2.4 billion gallons of renewable diesel capacity is coming online by 2024, and Kovarik says EPA’s numbers undercut the investments.

EPA says the proposed rule would reduce U.S. oil imports by some 160,000 to 180,000 barrels of oil per year with energy savings of 200 to 223 million dollars per year. EPA must finalize its proposal by next June 14th under a consent decree reached with the ethanol industry.

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