The Obama Administration confirmed Nov. 15 that it is seeking lower targets for the blending of ethanol into fuel next year, acknowledging the E10 "blend wall” and granting a big victory to the oil industry. The EPA is mandating overall use of renewable fuels at a range of 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons in 2014 - far lower than the original mandate of 18.15 billion gallons. The proposed reduction first came to light last month when a document outlining the EPA’s intentions was leaked to the press. The oil industry welcomed Friday’s news while stressing that more must be done to prevent potential harm to consumer engines and refueling infrastructure done by high ethanol blends. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) said the proposed cut is a "short-term fix” and must be followed by further action from Congress.
"While we still believe that even further reductions are necessary and warranted, EPA’s proposal acknowledges the adverse consumer impacts associated with the RFS. The basic fact remains that the agency’s action is little more than triage applied to a program that requires legislative surgery,” AFPM President Charles Drevna said in a statement.
The EPA is expected to issue final rules in the spring after a public comment period. A Reuters report notes that ethanol proponents may mount legal challenges to the proposed law in the interim.