RFA: Ethanol producers meet statutory 2014 RFS without final rule

By Renewable Fuels Association | January 15, 2015

Renewable identification number (RIN) generation data released by the U.S. EPA shows that the statutory 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS) requirements established by Congress in 2007 could have easily been met, and that the RFS waiver proposed — and later rescinded — by EPA was totally unnecessary. EPA data show that generation of “renewable fuel” RINs (also known as “D6” or “conventional ethanol” RINs) in 2014 almost matched perfectly the volumes required under the statute.

According to EPA, 14.34 billion “renewable fuel” RINs were generated in 2014, almost perfectly in line with the statutory requirement of 14.40 billion. When combined with surplus RINs carried over from previous years, total renewable fuel RIN stocks are estimated to be well over 16 billion. While some small portion of the 2014 RINs generated will be retired for exported volumes, the data clearly show that compliance with statutory volumes could have easily been achieved.

Commenting on the data, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen stated, “Today’s data says quite clearly that all of the angst and political theatre created by EPA’s 2014 RVO proposal was completely unnecessary. Had the Agency just implemented the statute as written, there would have been no drama.

“In 2007, Congress challenged the budding ethanol industry to produce 14.4 billion gallons of cleaner-burning renewable fuel by 2014, and today’s data clearly show that America’s ethanol producers delivered. Unfortunately, EPA didn’t uphold its end of the bargain. By failing to require oil companies to blend the statutorily obligated volumes of renewable fuel in 2014, the agency unnecessarily interrupted the unmitigated success that has been the RFS. But despite the chilling signal sent by EPA’s proposed rule for 2014 volumes and the agency’s failure to publish a final rule, ethanol producers would have readily met the statutory RFS volumes in 2014.”

Dinneen added, “As EPA and the White House finalize the 2014 rule and turn their attention to 2015 and 2016, this data sends a strong message that the U.S. ethanol industry is up to the task. We can and will deliver the volumes established in the statute, provided that EPA enforces the law as written. The data underscore the need for EPA to get the program back on the statutory track and ensure that there will in fact be a market for the renewable fuels we are producing. Setting the 2014 standard anywhere below the statutory volume of 14.4 billion gallons could actually lead to burdensome levels of RIN stocks, undermining future growth of the renewable fuels industry and discouraging further investment in our nation’s refueling infrastructure.”

In November 2013, EPA proposed to reduce the 2014 requirement for renewable fuel from the statutory level of 14.4 billion gallons to just 13.01 billion gallons. Today’s data show that RIN generation outpaced EPA’s initial proposed volume by more than 10 percent.

Today’s data also show that RIN generation for cellulosic biofuel — long labeled by oil companies as “phantom fuels” — was nearly double the volume proposed by EPA in November 2013. The Agency proposed a cellulosic biofuel requirement of 17 million gallons, yet RIN generation finished the year at nearly 33 million.