The final 2022 renewable fuel volumes released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency support access to higher blends of ethanol for consumers.
For 2022, the final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume of 20.63 billion gallons includes an implied 15 billion gallons of ethanol, following the law. EPA also added a supplemental 250 million gallon requirement for 2022, responding to a 2017 Court decision finding EPA improperly waived past volumes. EPA finalized the delayed 2021 volume at 18.85 billion gallons, including an implied 13.79 billion gallons for ethanol, tracking retroactive renewable fuel consumption for the year.
In a separate action, EPA finalized denial of 69 pending RFS exemption petitions. Closing the books on RFS exemptions.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall was supportive of the action.
“[The] EPA announcement is welcome news for farmers and ranchers as well as America’s families who are dealing with record-high fuel prices. AFBF appreciates that the Biden administration has upheld the promise to honor the critical role that renewable fuels play in supporting the rural economy,” Duvall said. “The use of homegrown renewable fuels provides an affordable option at the pump, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions the equivalent of taking 18 million cars off the road per year. With wholesale prices for ethanol currently lower than gasoline in many regions of the country, increased blending should lead to lower prices at the pump. Homegrown ethanol and biodiesel are especially important as we face global uncertainties.”
National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association were also pleased with both measures.
“More ethanol in the fuel supply saves Americans money at the pump and lowers greenhouse gas emissions,” said Chris Edgington, National Corn Growers Association president. “Higher renewable fuel volumes for this year, which will increase and diversify our fuel supply, come at a crucial time as policymakers are working to lower fuel prices.”
Ethanol is priced $1.42 less per gallon than unblended gasoline at wholesale today, and drivers currently save up to 20 cents or more per gallon where E15 is available. Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 50% compared to gasoline and replaces the most toxic gasoline components to cut air pollution.
“When President Biden visited an Iowa ethanol production facility in April, he said ethanol reduces our reliance on foreign oil, creates choice and competition at the pump for better prices, creates good-paying jobs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” Edgington said. “Farmers agree, and the increased RFS volumes for 2022 and denial of pending refinery exemptions will advance these objectives and move renewable fuels forward.”
While Edgington praised EPA for the strong forward-looking 2022 renewable fuel volumes, he expressed disappointment the agency made an unnecessary retroactive reduction of 2020 RFS volumes. The RFS already self-adjusts for declining fuel use, such as occurred in 2020, and this further reduction rewards the use of more oil at the expense of the environment.
While slightly lower than originally in , soybean farmers remained pleased with the blending volumes. The 2022 finalized rule aligns with levels previously determined by Congress, setting the 2022 biomass-based diesel (BBD) volumes at 2.76 billion gallons, up from 2.43 billion for 2020 and 2021. The 2022 overall volumes are set at 20.63 billion gallons and retroactive volumes for 2021 at 18.84 billion gallons, 2020 at 17.13 billion gallons. These are the largest-ever volumes for total renewable fuels and specifically for BBD since the RFS was created.
In addition to EPA’s announcement, nearly $700 million in payments for biofuel facilities it said will support the maintenance and success of the biofuels market for soy and corn producers, along with those biofuel producers, following COVID-19 hardships.