Farm groups react to new Renewable Fuel Standard volumes

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Renewable Fuel Standard volumes have people talking. And not in a good way.

The EPA announced June 21 the biofuel blending volumes for 2023 to 2025, which included increased amounts for biofuels but not for corn ethanol.

The final rule requires refiners to blend 20.94 billion gallons of renewable fuel with gasoline and diesel in 2023, 21.54 billion in 2024 and 22.33 billion gallons in 2024. That’s up from the 2022 renewable volume obligation of 20.63 billion gallons.

Ethanol was left at 15 billion gallons, backing down from an earlier plan that proposed increasing the level to 15.25 billion gallons in 2024 and 2025.

The biomass-based diesel mandate was set at 2.82 billion gallons in 2023, 3.04 billion gallons in 2024 and 3.35 billion gallons in 2025. That’s an increase from 2.76 billion gallons in 2022.

Reaction

While these are the highest-ever target numbers for renewable fuel blending, agricultural commodity groups and the biofuels industry were disappointed with the rules.

Ohio Soybean Association president Patrick Knouff said, in a statement, that the modest increase for soy-based diesel was appreciated, but it wasn’t enough.

“These numbers don’t reflect the expected growth of the biofuels industry and soy growers were not prioritized,” he said.

The National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag said the final rule “falls short of the emissions reductions and cost-saving benefits the higher proposed ethanol volumes would have provided.”

The Renewable Fuels Association said the volumes approved by the EPA marked “an unfortunate step backwards from the volumes that were originally proposed.” The association called the reductions to the corn ethanol volumes “inexplicable and unwarranted.”

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