Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), issued the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“A top excuse EPA has used to rein-in the RFS is data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) which indicate falling gasoline consumption. EPA has claimed they can’t require oil companies to add more ethanol to a shrinking gasoline pool because of the so-called E10 blend wall,” said Jennings. “Under that logic, EPA’s ethanol blending volumes for 2017 should increase to statutory levels because gasoline use is on a steady rise and will set a new record this year.”
According to EIA, gasoline use rose to 9.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2015 – just shy of the 2007 record of 9.29 million bpd. In 2016, EIA predicts a new gasoline use record of 9.3 million bpd will be set and that trend will continue into 2017.
“While we are pleased that EPA’s 2017 proposal increases ethanol blending levels from 2016, we remain disappointed that EPA falls back on the questionable E10 blend wall methodology which has disrupted implementation of the RFS for more than a year,” said Jennings. “Our priority is to ensure EPA holds oil companies legally responsible under the RFS for making cleaner and less expensive fuel choices, such as E15 and flex fuels, available to consumers. We will provide ACE members with a platform to once again submit comments to EPA so we can work to improve upon this proposal in advance of the final rule which will be issued on November 30.”
Infrastructure constraint excuses don’t hold water either. In 2015 the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory issued a report confirming that most retail infrastructure is already compatible with E15. The majority of cars on the road today are approved to use E15.