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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