American Petroleum Institute Sues EPA Over 2013 RFS Mandate

on October 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Germany Drops Biofuel Plans

The API has challenged EPA’s 2013 RFS mandate, claiming that the volumetric targets are unrealistic.

On October 8, 2013, the American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumetric requirements, claiming the 6 million gallon (MG) cellulosic ethanol mandate is unrealistic.  API noted the 2013 cellulosic ethanol mandate is significantly higher than the 142,000 gallons produced this year.  It also noted that EPA issued the 2013 RFS requirements in August, nine months past the November 2012 statutory deadline.

RFS Target Volumes (BG ethanol equivalent) (EPA)

RFS Target Volumes (BG ethanol equivalent) (EPA)

The RFS program mandates minimum levels of renewable fuels blend in the U.S. transportation fuel supply.  It directs the EPA to set annually increasing blending mandates for renewable fuels to reach 36 billion gallons (BG) by 2022.  The 2013 RFS requires the use of 16.55 BG of renewable fuels, including 6 MG of cellulosic biofuel, 1.28 BG of biomass-based diesel, and 2.75 BG of advanced biofuels.  Notably, EPA reduced the final 2013 cellulosic biofuel mandate to 6 MG from its earlier proposal of 14 MG.

In January, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals directed EPA to revise its 2012 cellulosic biofuel standard in response to API’s 2012 lawsuit that challenged EPA for setting unachievable standards.  Subsequently, EPA vacated the 2012 cellulosic biofuels standards and lowered the 2011 standard to zero.  In releasing the 2013 RFS, EPA stated that the cellulosic biofuel standard is consistent with the court ruling that called for re-evaluation to reflect market conditions.  EPA also announced that it will address blend wall concerns (the point at which ethanol blending would exceed the 10 percent limit acceptable for vehicles) in its 2014 RFS proposal.

EPA has waived the cellulosic standards for each year from 2010 through 2013 due to insufficient cellulosic biofuels production.  In response to the 2013 RFS standards, API and the American Fuel & Petroleum Manufacturers petitioned EPA to waive the biofuel mandate to below 10 percent of gasoline demand under 2014 RFS to prevent increases in fuel costs and fuel supply shortages resulting from the blend wall.

October 9, 2013 via Energy Solutions Forum

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