WASHINGTON - Inside EPA reports that biofuel industry advocates planning talks with the Environmental Protection Agency on vehicle greenhouse gas regulations (GHG) that are expected to dramatically reduce fuel use and make it more difficult to meet supply mandates of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
According to the news source, non-profit Advanced Biofuels USA is working with ethanol trade groups to hold a conference this June that will launch a national discussion between automakers, advanced fuel producers, EPA and other federal agencies on fuels policy and the advances in engine technology to meet EPA's proposed GHG standards for model years 2017-2025.
Biofuels groups and fuel retailers are concerned that EPA€™s vehicle GHG rules will make it even harder to comply with the RFS, which mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel must be blended into the nation's fuel supply by 2022.
NACS submitted comments to the EPA on its GHG standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE), warning that the proposed new fuel efficiency requirements €" 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 €" will make it even more difficult for refiners to meet the current RFS supply mandates because there will be a relatively smaller volume of gasoline in which to blend renewable fuels.
NACS wrote: " In the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), Congress revised the RFS to require that a minimum of 36 billion gallons of qualified renewable fuels be integrated into the motor fuels supply by 2022. This objective was expected to represent approximately 21% - 25% of the overall gasoline market (based upon 2007 gasoline consumption and assuming an annual increase in demand of up to 1%). However, the proposed CAFE revisions could dramatically reduce the amount of motor fuels consumed in 2022 and beyond, creating a situation in which renewable fuels will be required to represent a significantly greater share of the market than originally anticipated."
NACS added that with no policy changes to its renewable fuel program and a 3% annual improvement in fuel economy as proposed in EPA's rule, "compliance with the RFS will require a blend rate of 37.51% in 2022. This level of renewable fuels penetration in the market will impose significant economic burdens on the retail fuels market and consumers."
Inside EPA notes that while the EPA has allowed for the sale of E85 gasoline, fueling infrastructure for flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) has remained elusive and is not expected to improve.
"NACS is concerned that if policies like these cannot be designed in a manner that compliments rather than compromises the other, countless small businesses will be forced to examine whether they want to spend the money for upgrades or exit the business€¦NACS urges EPA to consider the implications of this proposed rule on other regulatory requirements already affecting not just the automobile industry but the fuels industry as well."
NACS told Inside EPA that it€™s preparing a report that will ask Congress to step in because the rules are based on separate laws, including EISA, which created the RFS, energy policy law requiring the Department of Transportation to set CAFE standards, and the Clean Air Act, which guided EPA's vehicle GHG rule.