RFS Volumes Finally Finalized
As of November, the EPA finally released its final renewable volume obligations for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The volumes set are lower than those mandated by Congress in the initial Renewable Fuel Standard, after the EPA took into account a drop in fuel & gasoline demand and usage over the past several years (as compared to the demand and usage projected in 2007). The final volume for 2016 is 18.11 billion gallons, versus the Congressional volume of 22.25 billion gallons.
There were over 600 thousand comments on the proposal before it was finalized, and the feelings on the results are mixed, to put it mildly.
Ag farmers and biofuel industry players had argued the EPA had to stick to the original mandated volumes. Livestock farmers and food producers had argued for the mandate to be scrapped in its entirety, citing the impact it has had on pushing the cost of food and food production skywards. The oil industry fell somewhere in the middle, arguing the EPA ought to use its waiver to greatly reduce volumes to reflect lower fuel usage, the essential lack of cellulosic renewables, and concerns that high mandated volumes of ethanol would force the blend wall issue.
I wrote an in depth piece on the EPA's final ruling for Oil & Energy Magazine - you can read it in full here: "EPA Finalizes RFS Obligations"