EPA Misses Statutory Deadline To Set RFS Blending Mandates For 2021
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency missed the statutory deadline by which the 2021 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) must be set.
The EPA is required by statute to finalize annual RFS blending requirements for each upcoming compliance year by November 30 of the preceding year.
To meet that deadline, a proposed rule is typically released in the spring or early summer with a public comment period that closes several months before the statutory deadline.
The missed deadline means it remains unclear how much ethanol and other biofuels oil refiners must blend into their fuels next year.
Until the Trump Administration came to power, it was typical for the EPA to overshoot the deadline by months, creating uncertainty that affected fuel prices and speculation that drove up the cost of RINS obligated parties need to meet annual blending mandates.
However, over the past four years the EPA has met the deadline each time.
The delay means that the incoming Biden Administration, widely considered a friend of the ethanol industry, will determine blending volumes for 2021.
It is unlikely the new administration would impose a radical increase in blending volumes, at least for 2021. Blending volumes beyond 2021 are likely to see an increase due to Biden’s commitment to aggressively address climate change.