The Trump administration will scale back the use of biofuels waivers for small refineries and count ethanol exports toward federal biofuels usage quotas as part of a broad overhaul of the nation's renewable fuel policy, a source briefed on the plans said on Friday.
Renewable Fuel Standard
The presumptive GOP nominee spoke on energy policy this week.
POET, the second-largest ethanol producer in the US, touts its economic impact on the economy in supporting 39,978 full-time jobs and adding $5.4B to US GDP.
Research is suggesting that the proposed reduction to the ethanol level in the Renewable Fuel Standard would be like nearly a million more cars on the road for a year.
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is in favor of removing $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies and using the money to support ethanol. He also suggests a 30 percent ethanol blend in fuel.
Two biofuel producers – AFI and AFPM – filed a lawsuit earlier this year to get the EPA to make a decision about the 2014 RFS. Today, the EPA said it will decide by the end of November, 2015.
With the 2016 US presidential election already getting rolling, the debate over the Renewable Fuel Standard could play role in farming-intense states. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a supporter of the mandate, thinks candidates who don't support the RFS could be at a disadvantage there for the very important caucuses.
The federal government mandates that a certain amount of ethanol be blended with gasoline. The price of corn-based ethanol hasn't been affected by the same anchor-drop in price as petroleum fuel, however, and along with that, the complicated mechanics of its pricing and trade are said to be what is keeping the price of gas from falling even further.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not going to decide just yet how much biofuel to add to the national fuel supply in the future. Last year, the EPA said, for the first time ever, that it might reduce the biofuel component in American gas, but is now saying that the 2014 standards rule will be "significantly delayed."
November's coming up, so that must mean some election-season lobbying is on the way. One of the subjects being debated in the US right now is the how much renewable fuel must be included in the US gas supply. And advocates are already taking to the digital airwaves to make their point.
As is its job, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) continues to bang the drum of what it says is a stacked deck against alternative fuels like ethanol. Earlier this month it took on Big Oil. Now, it's the US Department of Energy (DOE). Go big or go home, huh?