All eyes on RFS

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2022

The Biden administration is nearing a Friday deadline to finalize its rule setting volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2020, 2021 and 2022 — a closely watched rulemaking for corn growers and the oil industry alike.

Recall: EPA proposed a spate of actions in December, including retroactively reducing the 2020 blending requirements, setting the 2021 volume near the actual anticipated demand level for that year and increasing the 2022 volumes. The agency also proposed shutting the door on pending small refinery exemption requests to the biofuel blending mandates.

Two industry sources familiar with EPA’s plans confirmed to ME the administration is likely to raise the proposed ethanol volume for 2021 to align with actual consumption for the year, which Reuters first reported.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that the U.S. consumed about 13.94 billion gallons of ethanol in 2021 – up from the 13.32 billion gallons the agency set in its initial proposal.

The two people said they did not expect the proposal to make significant changes to the proposed 2020 and 2022 volumes.

EPA also recently signaled it is moving forward on a proposal to establish an alternative schedule to retire RINs in a likely bid to provide flexibility for small refiners. EPA Administrator Michael Regan committed to senators last month that the agency was looking for a way to provide certainty to both the agriculture and refining industries on the obligations under the RVO program and how they play into the exemption decisions.