The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scrapped a plan that would have seen fuel refiners required to blend more biofuels into petrol and diesel in 2019 to compensate for exempted smaller refiners.
The dropped plan would have increased the renewable fuel blending obligation for the refining industry from 10.88% to 11.76% to make up for volumes lost under the EPA’s small refinery hardship waiver programme, expanded greatly under President Donald Trump, wrote Reuters on 11 July.
The US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires the EPA to set annual mandates for the volume of renewable fuel refiners and fuel companies must blend in petroleum products, but it had the authority to exempt smaller refiners if they could prove that complying would have a negative financial impact on them.
Under the now dropped plan, the EPA would have estimated the amount of petrol and diesel that was likely to be exempted in 2010 under the waiver scheme and transferred the difference in blending obligation to larger refiners.
EPA documents showed that approximately 8.18bn gallons (30.9bn litres) of petrol and 5.44bn gallons (20.6bn litres) of diesel produced by small refiners would have been exempted in 2019, Reuters said.
It was aimed at appeasing the powerful US corn lobby, angered by the tripling of exemptions granted under the previous EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt.
In 2016 and 2017, the EPA granted roughly 2.25M gallons (8.5M litres) worth of exemptions, which included waivers covering 1.46M RFS compliance credits, called renewable identification numbers (RINs).
However, pressure from the oil refining industry – another powerful industrial lobby in US politics – led the EPA to scrap the plan, wrote Reuters.