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EPA Dials Back Ethanol Mandate in Gasoline

On Monday, the EPA announced it would scale back its ethanol mandate on gasoline.

Why would President Obama's EPA downgrade a federal ethanol mandate? IPI's Merrill Matthews offers some perspective.

"This is not because of a relaxing commitment on the part of the Obama administration’s EPA, but a recognition that keeping Congress’s excessively high Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate from 2007 would create a problem for cars," said Matthews.

The renewable fuel mandate requires an increase of total ethanol at a time when gasoline usage has been down. That means a higher blend than the current 10%, which many claim would harm older cars that can't go beyond a 10% blend wall."

Matthews points to this report from May 29 by The Hill. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its three-year proposed ethanol mandate on Friday, increasing the amount of the biofuel it wants mixed into the gasoline supply but at levels still below those set by law.

The blending targets are overdue and EPA waived the goals Congress set in 2007 for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Officials said market pressures are limiting their ability to increase the renewable fuel levels as quickly as they would like.

"We’re balancing two dynamics: Congress's clear intent to increase renewable fuel over time to address climate change and increase energy security, and the real-world circumstances that have slowed progress toward these goals," Janet McCabe, the EPA's air pollution regulator, told reporters Friday.

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