Minneapolis, Nov 30 – In its final rule for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increased its cellulosic biofuel target to 288 million gallons from its earlier proposed target of 238 million gallons.
This in turn increases the overall advanced biofuel target for 2018 renewable volume obligations (RVO) under the RFS to 4.29 billion gallons.
The EPA said in a statement today the RVO for corn ethanol is maintained at 15 billion gallons, which brings the total renewable fuel volume in 2018 to 19.29 billion gallons, up from the 19.24 billion gallons it proposed earlier in the year.
“Keeping the corn ethanol target at 15 billion gallons in 2018 will play an important role in increasing consumption of E15 and higher blends next year.
“The increase in cellulosic biofuel targets for 2018 is a positive sign but it is still below the level the agency targeted for 2017 – 311 million gallons. These targets are important in spurring investment in the cellulosic biofuel market,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.
In October, a bipartisan group of senators, which included Minnesota’s Sen. Amy Klobuchar, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stating that the agency had arrived at lower targets for advanced biofuels by “utilizing a new methodology more reliant on historical data than projected volumes. The RFS must by law be administered in a forward-looking manner.”
Apart from cellulosic ethanol, the advanced biofuels category in the RFS includes biodiesel. In September, the EPA said it was considering reducing the 2018 and 2019 volumes for biodiesel. However, after pushback from the industry, lawmakers and even President Donald Trump, the agency has stuck to the biodiesel volumes it proposed earlier in the year in the final rule issued today.
Read the EPA's announcement on its final rule for the 2018 RFS here.