The Environmental Protection Agency released its proposal for 2019 biofuel obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Tuesday, maintaining the statutory level for corn ethanol while increasing advanced biofuels, but failing to address the small refinery exemptions that have decimated demand and effectively lowered the required amount of biofuels to be blended.
Under the proposed rule, conventional renewable fuel volumes would be maintained at the implied 15-billion gallon target set by Congress for 2019, the advanced biofuel standard would be increased by almost 600 million gallons over the 2018 standard – including an increase of 100 million gallons for the cellulosic biofuel standard and a 330 million gallon increase for the biomass-based diesel standard for 2020.
EPA is also “taking comment on a host of ways to improve market transparency, including by limiting who can participate in the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market and the length of time a RIN can be held.”
The ethanol industry would be more pleased with the rule if it had addressed the gallons lost due to refinery waivers, according to Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The agency had language in the proposal until about two days ago that would have, at least for future small refinery waivers, created a more transparent process by which those gallons would have been reallocated,” said Dinneen. The proposal was scheduled to be released last Friday but delayed at the last minute, reportedly because the oil industry was against the reallocation plan.
Listen to Dinneen’s reaction to the proposal: Interview with RFA CEO Bob Dinneen on EPA 2019 RVO proposal