The EPA proposed raising the amount of ethanol in gasoline in 2017. The proposed regulations would raise the current regulations by 700 million gallons to 18.8 billion gallons of ethanol and biofuels blended into the gasoline supply. Although on the surface, this appears to be a great increase, it is lower than expected. The original regulations set in 2007 proposed 24 billion gallons by 2017, but the EPA has revised the proposed amount after development was slower than expected. The announcement caused a drop in stock prices of ethanol and biofuel producers, such as Archer Daniels Midland Company. Critics argue the increase is more biofuel than current automobiles can bear. EPA officials, on the other hand, argue the requirements are set based on the realities of the market and Congress’s original goals. Pro-ethanol groups, though, believe the regulation did not go far enough and is simply catering to the oil industry. One proponent stated “she was “encouraged” the EPA had increased the levels from previous years, but added that “it still falls short” of the statutory target and of what the industry can do.”
The regulation is currently in the comment period and will be decided later this year.
Going from here, the question remains if biofuel is the best alternative fuel to reach lower greenhouse gas emissions. As a class, how do you personally feel about biofuels? Is forcing biofuel hindered development of other alternative fuel sources? Do you agree with the more with the critics or the pro-ethanol groups?
More about the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Program here.