AMA Reports Proposed 2018 Renewable Fuel Standards Reduced from 2017
Total volume slightly smaller than 2017
The proposed 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements were announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show a slight reduction from the 2017 obligations but do not reflect the agency’s promise to listen to consumers, who have registered a low demand for higher ethanol blends, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.
The EPA’s proposed Renewable Volume Obligations call for 19.24 billion gallons of biofuel for 2018, down less than 1 percent from 19.28 billion gallons this year.
“We are encouraged that the EPA is not proposing another increase in ethanol mandates,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “But we would prefer that the agency recognize what America’s marketplace is saying: ‘Consumers don’t want higher-ethanol fuel blends.'”
Of the 19.24 billion gallons of biofuels proposed for 2018, 15 billion gallons would be conventional renewables, primarily corn ethanol, with lesser amounts of conventional biodiesel and renewable diesel, according to the EPA.
The agency said the “volume of ethanol that can be consumed as E10 in 2018 is projected to be 14.29 billion gallons.”
The AMA opposes any increase in the Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard and would prefer a much larger reduction because higher ethanol mandates force greater amounts of high-ethanol fuel, such as E15, into the marketplace. An increase in the supply of E15 can lead to more inadvertent misfueling — caused by blender pumps and confusing pump labels — by motorcyclists.
E15 fuel is a blend of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol and represents a 50 percent increase in ethanol over the common E10 blend most Americans currently use in their vehicles. None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use in the United States is approved by the EPA to operate on ethanol blends higher than 10 percent. Using higher-ethanol blends in those vehicles is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer’s warranty.
The AMA also is concerned the increased reliance on corn ethanol could further reduce the amount of E0 fuel available. Since the distribution network for E15 and E85 is limited, fuel producers may be forced to reduce E0 output to stay within the EPA’s rule.
“It is clear that the Renewable Fuel Standard has been broken for years and Congress needs to reform the law to protect motorcyclists and the millions of consumers who do not want higher ethanol blends,” Allard said.
The proposed 2018 rule can be downloaded here: www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-07/documents/rfs-2018-standards-nprm-2017-07-05.pdf.
There will be a 45-day comment period and a public hearing before any further action can occur.