EPA Proposal Set to Cut Ethanol Mandate

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Green Car Reports

The Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency wants to reduce the amount of ethanol and other bio­fu­els the cur­rent law ini­ti­ated in 2007 requires to be blended with gasoline.

Learn more about the EPA’s rever­sal in its ethanol mandate.

The Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency pro­posed Fri­day to cut the amount of ethanol required in gaso­line from what was orig­i­nally required under the 2007 Energy Inde­pen­dence and Secu­rity Act, The Detroit News reports.

The EPA wants to reduce the amount of ethanol and other bio­fu­els the law requires to be blended with gaso­line by 15.21 bil­lion gal­lons. That’s about 20 per­cent less than the orig­i­nal 2014 tar­get of 18.15 bil­lion gallons.

Why the change of plans?

The law requires bio­fu­els to be blended with gaso­line in increas­ing amounts, but those amounts as deter­mined by volume–not as a per­cent­age of the fuel being used.

When Con­gress passed the law in 2007, it was assumed that U.S. gaso­line con­sump­tion would con­tinue to rise. In fact, dif­fer­ent stud­ies have shown that U.S. gaso­line usage peaked in 2006, and that U.S. dri­vers also have fewer cars, and are dri­ving them less.

How­ever, there’s one group that prob­a­bly won’t approve of the EPA’s deci­sion: growers.

“Slash­ing the 2014 tar­get for advanced bio­fu­els would be a huge step back­wards,” Leti­cia Phillips, North Amer­i­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for UNICA, the Brazil­ian Sug­ar­cane Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion, said in a statement.

Brazil has tried to pro­mote sug­ar­cane ethanol as an alter­na­tive to corn-based ethanol for U.S. bio­fuel needs.

Despite crit­i­cism from the auto industry–and con­cerns over ethanol’s impact on food pro­duc­tion, land use, and water consumption–the EPA has held fast to a goal of using 36 bil­lion gal­lons of renew­able fuels by 2022.

Since the Energy Inde­pen­dence and Secu­rity Act was passed in 2007, that goal has seemed like an inevitably. Could that no longer be the case?

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