The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released yesterday its final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2018. The agency finalized a total renewable fuel volume of 19.29 billion gallons (BG), of which 4.29 BG is advanced biofuel, including 288 million gallons (MG) of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves a 15 BG requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, consistent with the levels envisioned by Congress in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The 2018 total RFS volume finalized today represents a minor increase (10 MG) over the 2017 standards, and a modest increase (50 MG) over the 2018 volumes originally proposed by EPA in July.
Statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA):
“NCGA is pleased to see the EPA meet the Administration’s commitment to keep the RFS on track when it comes to conventional ethanol.
“This year’s corn crop is bigger than anyone anticipated, resulting in the largest carryover supply in 30 years. Farmers want to rely on the marketplace for their income, and ethanol has been critical in our effort to increase profitable demand for U.S. corn.
“While we are concerned that the RVO number for cellulosic ethanol is not set higher than the 2017 volume, we are encouraged EPA raised the level by 50 million gallons above its July proposal. Moving forward, we ask EPA to revisit the growth in cellulosic fuel production, particularly as first-generation ethanol producers expand cellulosic gallons made from feedstocks such as corn kernel fiber.
“The RFS has been a resounding success when it comes to providing cleaner air, greater energy independence and stronger rural communities.
“Moving forward, NCGA remains committed to working with EPA and other partners to achieve the full benefits of the RFS, including continuing efforts with private and public-sector partners to grow our national fuel infrastructure and efforts to remove regulatory barriers to E15 and higher ethanol blends, giving consumers even greater access to cleaner-burning, renewable fuel choices.”