For the last 13 years, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been a lose-lose policy for American energy independence and consumer choice. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is keeping the RFS on track for continued failure — despite mandating unattainable biofuel blending requirements year after year, the EPA has yet again proposed an increase in volume targets for 2019.
While the RFS originally promised greater energy security, the outsized advanced biofuel volumes mandated by the EPA have actually incentivized biodiesel imports. This certainly was not the intention of the RFS. Since 2014, more biodiesel has been required to be blended into the fuel supply than is even produced here in the United States.
According to EPA’s RFS compliance data, in 2017, domestic biodiesel production fell about 123 million gallons short of meeting the mandate while imports accounted for approximately 689 million gallons.
In 2018, U.S. biodiesel producers are only projected to generate 3.03 of the mandated 4.29 billion gallons of total cellulosic and advanced biofuels, and they’ll likely fill the gap with biodiesel purchased overseas.
This production gap — and the resulting uptick in biodiesel imports — is an unrelenting trend. For the past two years, imports have accounted for about 30 percent of RFS advanced biofuel mandate compliance. Big Ethanol’s all-American fuel agenda is anything but homegrown, just another empty promise that’s never materialized.
Another unintended consequence of the RFS is its burden on American consumers. Biodiesel can cost anywhere from $1 to $1.80 more per gallon than petroleum diesel, and it’s less energy-dense overall. Mandating the purchase and blending of a more expensive product into the fuel supply is costing American consumers billions every year.
Higher imports and higher prices. Both are an undeniable reality of the RFS and its biodiesel mandate.
The RFS represents an unnecessary burden for consumers and our country. By increasing biofuel volumes for 2019, the EPA is ignoring the expensive and illogical consequences of this policy. It’s time to remind the EPA that an overhaul is long overdue.