EPA releases 2017-18 RFS volumes
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for 2017-18 on Nov. 23. There are positive aspects to the volumes they have announced, with the overall RFS increasing and the total Advanced Biofuels portion being increased above the levels in the Proposed Rule. The increased Advanced Biofuels volume requirements provide a market opportunity for soy biodiesel, which is the most prevalent fuel to qualify as an Advanced Biofuel. The American Soybean Association (ASA) would have liked to see greater support and promotion specifically for domestically produced biodiesel through higher volumes for the biomass-based diesel category. EPA chose to maintain the biomass-based diesel volumes at 2.1 billion gallons for 2018, the same level in the initial Proposed Rule. While it represents a 100 million gallon increase in the RFS biomass-based diesel volumes from 2017, it is roughly the same amount of biomass-based diesel that was utilized in the U.S. in 2015.
“The levels announced today provide opportunities but also do not take full advantage of an opportunity to further promote a viable, domestically produced renewable fuel industry that is U.S. biodiesel,” said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del. “EPA will raise the overall volumes relative to the Proposed Rule and increase the total Advanced Biofuels volume requirements for 2017 from 4.0 billion gallons to 4.28, an increase of 19 percent. That’s a plus for biodiesel as the primary source of Advanced Biofuels.” Wilkins noted, however, that EPA chose not to raise the Biomass-based diesel volume requirements within that Advanced Biofuel pool for 2018.
“When EPA issued its proposed rule, ASA clearly stated that the 2.1 billion gallon mark did not adequately capture the capacity of the biodiesel industry,” he said. “To see the volume remain at 2.1 billion gallons as they were in the Proposed Rule is frustrating. We know we can do more.”