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EPA Releases Renewable Fuel Standard

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The final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard were announced November 30 causing mixed responses from ag groups.

The final rule requires more renewable fuels than the proposal, but still falls short of the congressional mandate.

Final Renewable Fuel Volumes:

2014 2015 2016 2017
Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons) 33 123 230 n/a
Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons) 1.63 1.73 1.90 2.00
Advanced biofuel (billion gallons) 2.67 2.88 3.61 n/a
Renewable fuel (billion gallons) 16.28 16.93 18.11 n/a

Note: Units for all volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel volumes, which are expressed as physical gallons.

 

The EPA says the requirements boost production and support a robust and achievable growth of the biofuels industry.

Some ag groups say this shows progress from the proposal and moves the biofuel industry in the right direction. However, groups like the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association say it's still not good enough.

Executive Director Monte Shaw says, " I know a lot of people like to say, well, it's at least better than the proposal. But I don't really give credit that way. If the proposal was absolutely horrible, and the final rule is just horrible. Is that really an improvement? No, the fact of the matter is, they lowered the numbers, below what Congress set them at with an illegal justification."

Some farmers were hoping a higher ethanol blend would boost the low corn price, Shaw says, "I don't think this is good news for that and it's sad because we have all this corn and it's literally sitting around. A lot of it outside right now, we have so much corn and we can't even get it inside when it's raining and snowing on it and we should be turning that into ethanol and give the consumers a right to buy these higher blends at a lower cost and instead, we're kind of stuck in neutral with this rule I think. So, it's frustrating, but all we can do is roll up our sleeves it is the final rule."