The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released proposed renewable fuel volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023, 2024 and 2025, proposing annual growth in volumes. The RFS requires annual volumes of renewable fuels, such as ethanol, be used in the fuel supply to reduce emissions, expand and diversify the fuel supply, improve energy security and lower costs.
“We are glad to see EPA moving forward with an approach that includes annual increases in ethanol volumes,” said Randy Poll, president of the Michigan Corn Growers Association (MCGA). “Ethanol is a locally produced fuel option that provides cleaner and cheaper options for Michigan drivers at the pump. However, with increased pressure on Michigan families due to high gas prices and instability in international fuel markets, we believe that ethanol can have an even greater positive impact. MCGA will encourage EPA to consider these factors when setting the final volumes in 2023.”
For 2023, EPA’s proposal includes an implied 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol, which increases to 15.25 billion gallons for both 2024 and 2025. EPA also followed through on proposing to restore the remaining 250 million gallons from a prior court decision for 2023. EPA did not propose a specific update for lifecycle GHG assessments of biofuels but instead will take further comment and review options for a future update. Such an update is overdue and necessary to accurately reflect the shrinking carbon footprint of today’s ethanol, and MCGA will continue urging EPA to adopt the Department of Energy’s data-driven assessment.
The 2023-2025 proposal is EPA’s first RFS volume rule based on qualitative environmental, economic and agriculture factors listed in the statute, rather than specific volumes in law, which afforded EPA greater latitude in proposing these annual requirements within certain guardrails. As such, EPA builds on the strong baseline of the 2022 RFS volumes, which included the full statutory 15 billion gallons for ethanol, providing for future growth with this proposal.
MCGA will submit detailed comments to EPA on the proposal, and EPA has agreed to finalize the RFS volumes by June 2023.