Bloomberg Business Week: EPA Says Refiners May Exceed Ethanol Blend Limits in 2014

June 27, 2013

Mark Drajem, June 26, 2013 — Refiners may be forced to exceed 10 percent ethanol in their fuels next year in order to meet congressionally mandated renewable-fuel standards, according the Environmental Protection Agency.

While oil-industry lobbyists are urging lawmakers to scrap the Renewable Fuel Standard because of problems this year, an EPA official will tell Congress today that issues with the “blend wall” — where the amount of mandated corn-based fuel exceeds levels considered safe for all engines — won’t bite until 2014.

“Given these facts, we will continue to look at the potential impacts of the blend wall over the near and longer term,” Christopher Grundler, director of the office of transportation and air quality at the EPA said in testimony prepared for delivery today to a panel of the House Energy and Commerce committee. “EPA will continue to engage with stakeholders on this issue as we move to propose the RFS volume requirements for 2014.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, dates in its current form to 2007, when concerns about dependence on overseas oil and a desire to curb the use of fossil fuels induced Congress to set quotas for the use of alternatives to gasoline or diesel, such as corn-based ethanol and biodiesel.