U.S. EPA Will Likely Maintain Current RFS Blending Volumes For 2020 And 2021 Compliance Years

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s biofuel blending mandates for this year and next are likely to be in line with those of 2020 as the agency accounts for weaker fuel demand since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, three sources familiar with the matter said.

The move is designed to spare the U.S. refining industry the added RIN costs associated with the usual annual expansion in renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard, at the expense of biofuel producers and the corn industry which depend on regular increases to grow their businesses.

The agency is now intending to issue both the 2021 and 2022 volumes proposals this summer.

The EPA last set the annual RFS blending obligations in 2019, when the agency mandated that refiners must blend 20.09 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel mix for the 2020 compliance year.

The mandate included 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels like ethanol, with the rest including other forms of biofuels.

The upcoming volume proposals are due to include requirements that are largely the same, the three sources said, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Biden administration is also expected later this summer to lay out how electric vehicles could qualify for tradable credits under the RFS adding automakers to the mix of RFS stakeholders.

Court Vacates 3 Biofuel Waivers

Wednesday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated three waivers exempting oil refiners from biofuel blending mandates that former President Donald Trump’s administration granted in the last hours of his term.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which granted the waivers in January to Sinclair Oil Corp refineries, did not properly analyze legal questions before granting the waivers, the ruling dated on Wednesday said.

The EPA, under President Joe Biden, filed a motion in late April to vacate the waivers. The EPA had said it did not analyze whether Sinclair’s refineries would have qualified to receive the exemptions, according to a court ruling from January 2020.

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