Biofuels leader calls EPA blending decision a “hollow victory”

Source: By Larry Lee, Brownfield • Posted: Monday, April 11, 2022

The legal action by the biofuels industry against the EPA over Small Refinery Waivers and biofuel blending obligations continue.

Geoff Cooper with the Renewable Fuels Association tells Brownfield that additional court briefs were filed Thursday.  He says the new EPA administrator has taken steps to revoke his predecessor’s exemptions, but EPA has failed to account for the 1-point-4 billion gallons of biofuels that were supposed to be blended for 2018. “EPA is now saying they’re rejecting those waivers but they’re not requiring the refiners to make up that lost volume, so it’s really sort of a hollow victory for the biofuels industry.” Cooper says even though EPA revoked the waivers, the agency isn’t requiring refiners to do anything different or make up for lost biofuel demand. “The most sensible way to do this would have been to require those refiners to effectively add 1-point-4 billion gallons of blending requirements to their future RFS requirements. That would have been the way to square everything up and unfortunately, that’s not what EPA did.”

Cooper says 1-point-4 billion gallons is about 1% of annual gasoline consumption but it’s about eight to ten percent of the ethanol produced every year, so it has a big impact on the ethanol marketplace but wouldn’t be a huge deal to add this amount to future blending obligations.

Cooper says year-round E15 would be the easiest way for refiners to comply with the 15-billion-gallon RFS blending requirement, and it would lower the cost of Renewable Identification Number (RINS) credits for refiners that choose not to blend biofuels.