In advance of the upcoming proposed rulemaking for the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) led a letter urging Administrator Wheeler to reset conventional biofuel to reflect market realities. The letter was signed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The letter asks that the EPA use their reset authority under the RFS to set conventional biofuel below 10 percent of the projected U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) gasoline demand in 2020. At the time that the RFS was enacted, the EIA expected demand to be much higher than it is today and as such, set statutory targets below 10 percent of the expected demand.
“We strongly urge you to protect U.S. consumers and account for the ethanol blend wall when setting annual target volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard's (RFS) reset requirements. Over a decade ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected 2020 gasoline demand would exceed more than 170 billion gallons, thus the 15 billion gallon conventional fuel mandate represented less than 10 percent of the expected gasoline demand. More than a decade since the RFS was passed into law, changes in consumer behavior and use of transportation fuels result in EIA now projecting gasoline demand for 2020 to be closer to 142 billion gallons, decreasing further to 137 billion gallons in 2022,” the senators write.
The letter continues: “We urge you to use the reset authority under the RFS for program for the purpose for which it was intended and reset the statutory targets such that the implied contribution of conventional biofuel is below 14.2 billion gallons for the 2020 compliance year.”