EPA Agrees To Finalize RFS Annual Blending Volumes For 2021, 2022 By June 3

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has entered into a consent decree with Growth Energy to issue minimum biofuel blending volumes under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) no later than June 3.

The consent decree was the result of settlement of a lawsuit between the EPA and Growth Energy over the agency’s tardiness in meeting statutory deadlines for issuing blending volumes that ethanol producers and refiners rely on to manage production.

The consent decree was approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and covers the annual volumes under the RFS for 2021 and 2022.

The litigation centered around the annual volumes of conventional biofuel, such as corn ethanol, along with other renewables including advanced biofuels.

The annual blending volumes for 2020 were finalized, but the EPA proposed to change them retroactively to reduce blending requirements for advanced biofuels.

The upcoming rule to be finalized in June apply to volumes for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2021 and 2022, and the biomass-based diesel (BBD) applicable volume for 2022.

The EPA is also expected to modify the volumes previously established for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2020.

In addition, to address the remand of the 2014-2016 annual rule by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the EPA is proposing a supplemental renewable fuel (ethanol) volume of 250 million gallons in 2022, and 2023.

EMA supports limiting annual corn ethanol blending volumes to 9.7 percent of projected gasoline demand to address E15 compatibility issues with underground storage tank equipment.

Meanwhile, Midwest governors sent a letter to the EPA requesting a permanent reduction in the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline standard in order to allow retailers to sell E15 year-round without the need to receive temporary waivers in the future.

Unfortunately, requiring a lower RVP standard will likely increase prices at the pump and not result in any additional savings to motorists given ethanol’s lower energy content.

According to the EIA, because ethanol contains about 67 percent of the energy content of gasoline per gallon, use of ethanol blends results in lower vehicle fuel economy (miles traveled per gallon) relative to gasoline that does not contain ethanol.

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