U.S. EPA issues biofuel blending mandates for 2022
On June 3, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a package of actions setting biofuel volumes for the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for years 2020, 2021, and 2022, and introducing regulatory changes intended to enhance the program’s objectives.
EPA’s actions will help reduce U.S. dependence on oil and diversify fuel supply by increasing production of domestically produced biofuels, the agency said. In the final volumes, EPA adjusted the final biofuel volumes for 2021 to reflect updated data on actual 2021 ethanol use that has become available since the proposal was issued.
The EPA set biofuel blending mandates for 2022 at 20.63 billion gallons and retroactive volume mandates for 2021 at 18.84 billion gallons and for 2020 at 17.13 billion gallons.
The EPA in December proposed to set volumes for 2022 at 20.77 billion gallons, for 2021 at 18.52 billion gallons and for 2020 at 17.13 billion gallons.
The volume mandates, typically set ahead of time each year, were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The EPA also established a 250-million-gallon “supplemental obligation” to the volumes finalized for 2022 and stated its intent to add another 250 million gallons in 2023, to address the remand of the 2014-2016 annual rule by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA.
To promote efficiency and opportunity in producing biofuels, the EPA also established a regulatory framework that allows biointermediates to be included in the RFS program, while ensuring environmental and programmatic safeguards are in place.
Separately, EPA is announcing a suite of small refinery exemption (SRE) actions. These include a final decision to deny a set of previously pending SRE petitions spanning the 2016–2021 compliance years, a proposed rulemaking to provide an alternative schedule for small refineries to comply with their 2020 RFS obligations, and a revision to an earlier action that provides an alternate compliance approach for certain small refineries for the 2016, 2017, and/or 2018 compliance years.
Though it denied the oil refiners’ exemption petitions, the agency said it would allow extra time for small refiners to meet their 2020 blending obligations.