The Environmental Protection Agency increases the amount of ethanol to be mixed with gas
Des Moines, Iowa – The Biden administration on Friday set new requirements that increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply but reduce previous ethanol blending requirements due to reduced fuel demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it will set levels for 2022 for ethanol made from corn blended with gasoline at 15 billion gallons. But even as new rules increase future ethanol requirements, the EPA has retroactively lowered levels for 2020 by 2.5 billion gallons and 1.2 billion gallons for 2021, reflecting a decline in the amount of ethanol produced and lower gasoline sales during the period when the virus led to a decrease in driving.
Most gasoline sold in the United States contains 10% ethanol, and the fuel has become a major part of the economy in many Midwestern states. Fuel consumes more than 40% of the country’s corn supply, and ethanol and other biofuel production plants provide jobs in rural areas that have seen a steady population decline for decades.
President Joe Biden is among many politicians from both parties who have often promised to support increases in the renewable fuel standard.
“Today’s actions will help reduce our dependence on oil and put the RFS program back on track after years of challenges and mismanagement,” said Michael Reagan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol lobby group, criticized the retrogressive reduction of biofuel targets, but said future requirements would restore certainty to the renewable fuel standard, help lower gas prices and lay a foundation for future growth.
In the past few days, the group said, wholesale prices of ethanol have fallen by $1.30 per gallon than gasoline.
The final order also denies exemptions for some oil refineries from the ethanol requirements, saying they failed to show exemptions justified under the Clean Air Act.
American fuel The Petrochemical and Petrochemical Manufacturers Group, which represents the refineries, described the 2022 number as “puzzling and inconsistent with the administration’s claims that it is doing everything in its power to provide relief to consumers.” The group said unrealizable mandates would increase fuel production costs and keep consumer prices high.
The Biden administration also announced Friday that the USDA will provide $700 million to support 195 biofuel producers in 25 states that have faced unexpected market losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.