The agency has proposed revised renewable fuel volume standards that continue to raise the amount of corn-based ethanol that will be used in gasoline, but with slightly less ambitious targets than the goals outlined in the 2007 regulations.
“These standards would provide the certainty the marketplace needs to further develop low-carbon fuels over the coming years,” the EPA wrote in a blog post.
The agency suggests the revisions are necessary to keep growing renewable fuel production while acknowledging the “real limits” to the actual amounts of biofuels that can be supplied to consumers at this time.
“These limits include lower than expected demand for gasoline and constraints in supplying ethanol at greater than 10 percent of gasoline,” the agency notes.
Nearly every gallon of gasoline sold in the US market is said to contain more than 10 percent ethanol, but increasing ethanol usage will require much higher usage of higher-level blends such as E15 and E85. Reflecting the incompatibility with most older and many newer vehicles, automakers have resisted the push and availability remains limited. Some states have even worked to ban E15, citing the potential for damaged vehicles.
“Because of the limitations that exist today, we are using the authority Congress gave the agency to adjust the volumes below the annual targets set in the original 2007 legislation,” the EPA concludes. “These proposed volumes are achievable in the timeframes under consideration. At the same time, the volumes steadily increase every year, reflecting Congress’s clear intent to drive up the nation’s use of renewable fuel.”