The new EPA ethanol targets managed to anger everyone

This news actually broke yesterday but we didn’t get around to it for a couple of reasons. One is that it was a rather packed day on the SCOTUS circuit to say the least. The other is that I needed a day or so to cool down to the point where this article wouldn’t be censored by Salem for a plethora of F-bombs. The story dealt with the EPA meeting their congressional statutory deadline to issue a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that sets the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2019. It also covers the biomass-based diesel volume standard for 2020.

So they got their job done on time. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the President has continued to reject conservative calls to scrap the entire RFS or at least scale back this huge giveaway program to prop up King Corn. All of the mandated renewable fuel amounts to be blended into the gasoline supply once again went up. It’s almost as if Obama never left office. (Washington Examiner)

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to increase the amount of renewable fuel in the nation’s fuel supply next year, but it won’t be enough to satisfy the ethanol industry.

The EPA is proposing to increase the amount of renewable fuel in the nation’s gasoline supply by 590 million gallons in 2019, the agency announced Tuesday.

The amount of corn ethanol allowed to be blended under the Renewable Fuel Standard will be kept at its maximum of 15 billion gallons, while the agency is increasing the amount for all biofuels from 19.29 billion gallons in 2018 to 19.88 billion gallons in 2019.

Nevertheless, ethanol supporters immediately came out slamming the proposal, saying it does not mean much if the EPA continues to allow refiners to be exempt from blending ethanol to save money.

The Examiner article focuses on the anger inside the ethanol industry over recent events, but they can’t really complain about these ethanol mandates. What they’re upset about is the only good news we’ve seen on this subject since the inception of the RFS back under Bush 43. The EPA has managed to issue a number of exemptions, primarily for smaller, older refineries which aren’t designed to blend ethanol and were going broke having to purchase RIN credits (Renewable Identification Numbers) to make up for it. That’s at least some help for the smaller distributors but does nothing to address the inherent corruption in the entire RFS ecosystem.

I could go on at length about this (as I have so often in the past) but Thomas J. Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, released a statement summing it up perfectly.

“Today’s proposal ignores the underlying problems of the Renewable Fuel Standard. This fundamentally broken Washington-knows-best regulation causes millions of American families and businesses to pay more at the pump.

“Doubling-down on the broken and failed RFS by raising the renewable fuel blending requirements will only cause more harm to American consumers. It’s time for Washington to finally repeal the RFS, get government out of the business of picking winners and losers, and let the free market move our energy economy forward. Enough is enough.”

This really isn’t a problem with the EPA so much as it is with the White House. They have to carry out the President’s agenda on subjects such as this and it’s clearly what President Trump wanted to see done. It may be viewed as a “compromise” because of the exemptions being offered here and there, but that doesn’t change the reality for the rest of the refineries or, more importantly, for American consumers. The RFS continues to march forward unabated, continually increasing the amount of corn we have to burn for fuel instead of food, all in the name of producing lower quality gasoline and propping up the corn contingent in the midwest.

If Ethanol is so great and American consumers are demanding it, let the free market decide. If people want to use it and pay for it, it will sell. If not, it will properly go the way of the dinosaurs and we can get back to business. This new announcement is a major disappointment which may fulfill a political promise that the President made to Iowa politicians, but doesn’t advance a conservative agenda or help consumers.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on February 01, 2023