December 08, 2022

EPA finalizes RFS volumes

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a package of action setting 2020, 2021 and 2022 Renewable Fuel Standard biofuel volumes.

For 2022, the final Renewable Fuel Standard volume of 20.63 billion gallons includes an implied 15 billion gallons of ethanol, following the law. The bio-based diesel volume for 2022 was set at 2.76 billion gallons, up from 2.43 billion gallons in 2020 and 2021.

EPA also added a supplemental 250 million gallon requirement for 2022, responding to a 2017 court decision finding EPA improperly waived past volumes.

EPA finalized the delayed 2021 volume at 18.84 billion gallons, including an implied 13.79 billion gallons for ethanol, tracking retroactive renewable fuel consumption for the year. The 2020 overall volume was set at 17.13 billion gallons.

These are the largest-ever volumes for total renewable fuels and specifically for bio-based diesel since the RFS was created.

In a separate action, EPA finalized denial of 69 pending RFS small refinery exemption petitions.

Here is what ag group representatives and others are saying about the EPA action:

“We are happy to see these renewable volume obligations that are so important to the soy industry being set significantly higher than in previous years and take this news as a sign of support for the Renewable Fuel Standard going into 2023. Additionally, we greatly appreciate the administration sticking to its commitment to no longer allow small refinery exemptions to continue being a means to skirt blending requirements.”

Brad Doyle, president

American Soybean Association

“The use of homegrown renewable fuels provides an affordable option at the pump, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions the equivalent of taking 18 million cars off the road per year. With wholesale prices for ethanol currently lower than gasoline in many regions of the country, increased blending should lead to lower prices at the pump. Homegrown ethanol and biodiesel are especially important as we face global uncertainties.”

Zippy Duvall, president

American Farm Bureau Federation

“At long last, the RFS is being put back on track. Today’s actions by EPA and the Biden administration restore integrity and stability to the RFS program after several years of wanton mismanagement and abuse by the previous administration. The combination of a strong RVO for 2022, restoration of illegally waived volume from 2016 and a new direction for the Small Refinery Exemption program puts the RFS program on solid footing for the future.”

Geoff Cooper, president and CEO

Renewable Fuels Association

“We are encouraged that the EPA is taking biofuels policy in a promising direction. Farmers and biofuels producers need certainty in the industry, and we thank the EPA for recognizing the critical need to increase ethanol blending mandates. This announcement provides much-needed relief for consumers at the gas pump market and economic stability to America’s farming and rural communities.”

Jeff Kippley, vice president

National Farmers Union

“More ethanol in the fuel supply saves Americans money at the pump and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Higher renewable fuel volumes for this year, which will increase and diversify our fuel supply, come at a crucial time as policymakers are working to lower fuel prices. When President Biden visited an Iowa ethanol production facility in April, he said ethanol reduces our reliance on foreign oil, creates choice and competition at the pump for better prices, creates good-paying jobs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers agree, and the increased RFS volumes for 2022 and denial of pending refinery exemptions will advance these objectives and move renewable fuels forward.”

Chris Edgington, president

National Corn Growers Association

“These last six months have been a rude awakening for those who have grown complacent about U.S. energy supplies. EPA’s 2022 renewable fuel blending requirements will deliver savings at the pump for working families, slash carbon emissions and strengthen U.S. energy security by bringing more American renewable fuel into our fuel supply. In just the last few months, E15 has been a shield against skyrocketing fuel prices, saving drivers almost 60 cents per gallon in some areas while American biofuels cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% compared to gasoline.”

Emily Skor, CEO

Growth Energy

“Pushing aggressive biofuel blending mandates risks exacerbating current market challenges by placing additional pressures and restrictions on refiners and blenders. The final 2022 volumes exceed EPA’s own estimates of what the market can absorb and are likely to place additional pressure on refiners that are already running full throttle to keep pace with demand. The failure to establish a feasible and achievable 2022 standard in a timely fashion is yet another example of the disconnect between the administration’s rhetoric and the policies they are pursing.”

Ron Chittim, vice president of downstream policy

American Petroleum Institute

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Field Editor