The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to push for lowering ethanol use in gas.
The Obama administration has proposed a new renewable fuel standard that could drop the ethanol level used in gasoline by four-billion gallons this year alone.
In 2007, the renewable fuel laws worked to address global warming, mandating a steady increase in the amount of renewable fuels, such as ethanol, to be blended into gasoline. The new proposal by the EPA would also result in a three-billion gallon reduction of ethanol use in 2016, marking a significant change for renewable fuel companies.
As a result, the EPA is hoping that the new proposed laws will “provide a strong incentive for continued investment and growth in biofuels,” according to EPA’s Janet McCabe. The lower targets will also benefit the oil industry, which prefers the market determine how much ethanol is blended into their gas.
The agency believes the standards set by the original law cannot be achieved, partly due to the limitations on the amount of nonethanol renewable fuels that can be produced. In addition, next-generation biofuels haven’t been as widespread as originally expected and less gasoline has been used than predicted.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will invest up to $100 million in Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership to support the infrastructure required to make renewable fuel options available to American consumers.
“American-made, clean energy sources support the environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs and sustain the economy in rural communities across the country. We are fortunate that our farmers are producing record amounts of feedstock for these fuels,” Vilsack said. “However, a combination of factors, including lower commodity prices and reduced demand for feed as the poultry industry recovers from highly pathogenic avian influenza, are creating uncertainty for America’s corn and soybean producers. With this partnership, USDA is helping to ensure the infrastructure is in place for consumers to access more renewable fuels, expand marketing opportunities for farmers, and grow America’s rural economies.”
The decision by the EPA comes as many automakers are pushing for a reduction in ethanol use in gasoline. A recent study showed that ethanol use above 15 percent in could be damaging in older engines.
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