The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023, 2024 and 2025, providing for annual growth in total renewable fuel volumes, although with lower conventional biofuel volumes than EPA had proposed.
For 2023, EPA set an implied 15.25-billion-gallon requirement for conventional ethanol, which includes a supplemental 250 million gallons a prior court decision required EPA to restore to the RFS. For 2024 and 2025, EPA holds the implied conventional volume level at 15 billion gallons, despite proposing 15.25 billion gallons for those two years.
“Today’s final RFS volumes came in below levels EPA proposed for conventional biofuels for 2024 and 2025, holding ethanol volumes steady at 15 billion gallons,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “A multi-year RFS volume rule offers stability and certainty for renewable fuels. However, when it comes to addressing pressing energy, environmental and economic challenges, EPA’s final rule falls short of the emission reductions and cost-saving benefits the higher proposed ethanol volumes would have provided.”
Separate from the volumes, Haag noted corn growers appreciate that EPA did not finalize a proposal to create a new program to generate RFS credits from automakers for electricity from renewable biomass, referred to as e-RINS.
“NCGA and its members strongly urged EPA to separate its e-RIN proposal from the RFS volumes because the proposal was wholly inconsistent with the way the RFS functions for other fuels and created an unlevel playing field across the RFS,” said Haag.
The RFS requires annual volumes of renewable fuels, such as ethanol, be used in the fuel supply to reduce emissions, expand and diversify the supply, improve energy security and lower costs.
The 2023-2025 volume is EPA’s first RFS rule based on qualitative environmental, economic and agricultural factors listed in the statute, rather than specific volumes in law. The new process allows EPA greater latitude, which the agency used to build on the strong baseline of the 2022 RFS volumes.