Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the Environmental Protection Agency’s biofuel blending mandates for this year and next will be in line with those from 2020. The agency is said to be accounting for weaker fuel demand since the onset of COVID-19. That would mean the U.S. refining industry would avoid added costs normally associated with the usual expansion in renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. That will come at the expense of biofuel producers and the corn industry, which depend on regular increases to expand their businesses.
The required amounts of biofuels that refiners must blend into the nation’s fuel supply usually increase annually in hopes of reducing foreign petroleum imports and helping the nation’s farmers. Former President Trump delayed the 2021 proposal because of COVID-19 and the 2020 election. The EPA says it intends to issue both the 2021 and 2022 volumes proposals later this summer. In the last ruling back in 2019, the EPA mandated that American refiners blend 20.09 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel mix for the 2020 compliance year. That mandate included 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels like ethanol. The upcoming volume proposals are expected to largely be the same amounts.