US president Joe Biden’s administration is looking into how a waiver on biofuel blending mandates could help counter surging prices for key food ingredients such as corn and soyabean oils following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported two sources as saying.
The nation's biofuel policy, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requires US oil refiners to blend billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol, soya-based diesel, and other biofuels into fuel each year or purchase credits from other producers, in a bid to help farmers and ease energy imports, according to the 3 March report.
However, as Ukraine is a major grain producer, prices of corn, soya and wheat had risen sharply following Russia’s invasion of the country, raising fears of food inflation in the USA, Reuters wrote. Corn and soya are common food ingredients and are widely used as feed for livestock.
Consumer inflation, including for food and energy, has become a major political concern for the White House leading into the mid-term elections, according to the report.
The sources told Reuters the administration was studying if waiving the RFS requirements could help control food inflation by making more corn and soya available for food and meat production.
There was no indication, however, that the White House was close to a decision, and when asked for comment, an administration official told Reuters that “there is no serious consideration of this by the White House right now."
While US farmers and biofuel producers support the RFS policy, which they say provides them with a lucrative and stable market, oil refiners say it imposes heavy costs on the industry, according to the report.