The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set the renewable fuel usage volumes for 2018, drawing a mixed reaction from the country’s renewable fuels manufacturers.
Published on 30 November, the EPA’s 2018 volumes are only marginally higher than those in 2017, with the exception of cellulosic ethanol, which has had its volume decreased.
The total renewable fuels volume rose from 19.28bn gallons in 2017 to 19.29bn gallons, with biomass-based diesel volume lifted from 2bn gallons to 2.1 bn gallons and advanced biofuels from 4.28bn to 4.29bn gallons.
Cellulosic ethanol requirements decreased from 311M gallons in 2018 to 288M gallons.
“Maintaining the renewable fuel standard at current levels ensures stability in the marketplace and follows through with my commitment to meet the statutory deadlines and the EPA by upholding the rule of law,” said EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.
However, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said Pruitt had disappointed US biodiesel manufacturers by failing to respond to their calls for growth.
“These flat volumes will harm Americans across several job-creating sectors – be they farmers, grease collectors, crushers, biodiesel producers or truckers – as well as consumers,” said NBB chief operating officer Doug Whitehead.
The ethanol trade group Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), on the other hand, said it was happy with the announced volumes and called them a “marked improvement” over earlier proposed targets.
“We are pleased that the final rule maintains the statutory 15bn gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels, like corn ethanol,” RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen said in a statement.
“It is also encouraging that EPA appears to have absorbed the tens of thousands of comments from American ethanol producers, farmers, consumers, veterans and others who suggested the proposed rule was unnecessarily pessimistic with regard to the total renewable fuel volumes, and cellulosic ethanol volumes specifically,” he added.
However, Dinneen noted that the RFA was “disappointed” that the final rule was not more aggressive in the areas of advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel, saying that the biofuels industry would “rise and fall together”.