[NEWS] Obama Administration Proposes 18.8 Billion Gallon Biofuel Mandate
– by Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Mario Parker, May 18, 2016, Bloomberg
The Obama administration tried to strike a cautious compromise Wednesday in setting new biofuel quotas for a controversial renewable fuels program that pits Big Oil against Corn Belt interests.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed compelling refiners to blend 18.8 billion gallons of biofuel into the U.S. gasoline and diesel supply next year, with no more than 14.8 billion gallons of that coming from conventional corn-based ethanol. The overall number — which is higher than oil companies wanted but lower than what biofuel producers sought — represents a modest increase over the 18.11 billion gallons of total renewable fuels the agency required for 2016.
But it is still far below a 24 billion gallon biofuel target that lawmakers established in a 2007 statute, and it dips below the law’s 15 billion cap on conventional renewable fuel, limiting the potential for ethanol producers such as POET LLC, Green Plains Inc. and Pacific Ethanol Inc.
The EPA’s proposal — like last year’s version — appears to accommodate oil companies’ concerns that the Renewable Fuel Standard is pushing them beyond a “blend wall” where the targets force them to mix a higher proportion of ethanol into fuel than the 10 percent level approved for use in all cars and trucks.