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Renewable Fuel Levels Postponed

by Jeff Johnson
December 1, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 48

Credit: Shutterstock
The Renewable Fuel Standard boosted corn-based ethanol production.
Photo of an ethanol plant behind a cornfields.
Credit: Shutterstock
The Renewable Fuel Standard boosted corn-based ethanol production.

A long-delayed requirement that sets target levels of biofuels to be added to the U.S. fuel mix has been put off again, EPA announced on Nov. 21. Congress established the Renewable Fuel Standard in the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 to encourage development of domestically made nonpetroleum biofuels and to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the transportation sector. Since enactment, standards in the law have resulted in increased production of corn-based ethanol, generating support from farmers and biofuel refiners and criticism from the oil industry. EPA proposed new target levels for biofuels a year ago. This created what the agency describes as “significant comment and controversy,” particularly concerning how target volumes should be set in light of decreasing U.S. gasoline consumption and the potential impact of future contributions from cellulosic ethanol refiners. Consequently, the agency says, it will continue consideration of the percentage of biofuels it would require in the transportation fuel mix and set a new level in 2015.


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