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America extends biofuel blends in fuel, but leaves ethanol makers disgruntled

Most gasoline or petrol sold in the US contains 10 percent ethanol blended in. Image: Pexels

America has increased the amount of biofuels that oil companies must blend into fuels over the next three years, as part of the country's renewable fuel standard (RFS) program.

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced biofuel blending volumes at 20.94 billion gallons in 2023, rising to 21.54 billion gallons in 2024 and touching 22.33 billion gallons in 2025. The agency said this would reduce America's reliance on foreign oil by 130,000-140,000 barrels per day over the three-year period.

But the country's biofuels sector voiced displeasure at the details of the plan, saying the new mandates don't offer the industry enough support. "The volumes EPA finalized today are not high enough to support [clean fuel] goals," Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs with biodiesel group Clean Fuels, told reporters.

America's RFS requires oil refiners to either blend biofuels into their fuels or buy credits from the companies that do. The oil companies argue that this drives up costs, but ethanol producers and corn farmers like the regulation because it supplies them a captive market. Most petrol or gasoline sold in the US has 10 percent ethanol blended in.

In its decision, the US EPA put a floor of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels such as corn-based ethanol for all three years. That's a reversal from the initial proposal, which mandated 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels in 2023 and 15.25 billion gallons for 2024 and 2025.

The Renewable Fuels Association called the reductions in ethanol requirements "inexplicable" and "unwarranted."

Emily Skor, CEO of an ethanol industry group Growth Energy, said the decision would "needlessly" slow progress toward climate goals, adding that the bioethanol industry "has more than adequate supply" to meet increased demand. 

Author : Mandar Bakre
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