The decision last week by the Obama administration to delay a final biofuels rule for 2014 is leading to conflict within the industry over the future of the program.
Mike McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, on Tuesday renewed his call for Congress to write new legislation to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard, a stance that put him at odds with other biofuels groups.
He argued that the approach adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep biofuels at about 10 percent of the motor vehicle fuel market, based on the predominant blend of ethanol into gasoline sold to consumers, threatens to kill investment into ethanol made from non-corn cellulosic feedstocks.
"It's time for Congress to step in and do something," McAdams said in an interview.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will not finalize its 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard proposal this year and will set final targets next year, potentially with 2015 requirements.
The agency is more than a year late in finalizing the annual mandate for biofuels use in transportation fuels. Late last year it proposed to cut required use compared to 2013, which prompted intense lobbying from the biofuels industry in an effort to raise the totals in a final rule.
"Due to this delay, and given ongoing consideration of the issues presented by the commenters, EPA is not in a position to finalize the 2014 RFS standards rule before the end of the year," the agency said in a Federal Register notice.
Sources tell Platts that the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014 biodiesel production will range from 1.28 billion to 1.5 billion gallons, far lower than industry capacity that reached 1.8 billion gallons last year.
As industry and politicians await this year's final ethanol mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency, the oil industry hopes to get a lower total out of the Obama administration with a long shot pitch that consumers want gasoline free from biofuels.
The American Petroleum Institute has asked EPA to consider an apparent increase in sales of unleaded gasoline with no ethanol. It has said those sales of so-called E0 should prompt a lower Renewable Fuel Standard requirement, below the 13.1 billion gallons of conventional ethanol it proposed last fall.
But the argument is running up against lobbying by the ethanol industry, which wants the totals raised, and EPA itself, and its success would be a surprise.
The Obama administration on Friday awarded $210 million to three companies to build refineries that will be able to make more than 100 million gallons a year of biofuels to power Navy ships and jets.
The awards come some three years into President Barack Obama's initiative to develop a domestic military-grade biofuels sector. It follows the testing of biofuels by the Navy in a live exercise in 2012.
Navigant Research said in a report that marine and aviation industries have been expanding their use of biofuels in recent years and projected that biofuels will make up 6.1 percent of the aviation fuel market by 2024, FuelFix reports.
NEW YORK (AP) — The price of corn fell to its lowest in almost four years on Monday as favorable weather conditions for the crop persist in the Midwest.
Corn for delivery in September fell 9 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $4.06 a bushel, its lowest price since August 2010. As recently as April 29, corn was trading at $5.22.
The price of corn has slumped in the last two months as the right combination of sun, rain and moderate summer temperatures has boosted the chances of a record crop this year. U.S. corn is currently entering its pollination stage, a critical point of its development.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday said there is still no target date to issue final Renewable Fuel Standard biofuels requirements for 2014.
"I'm hoping to get that out soon," she said when asked about the status of the 2014 RFS proposal. "I know that people are concerned about it. I also know that there was a ton of comment on our proposal and we need to get this right," McCarthy added.
Short-covering and the expiration of the front month contract helped power oil prices to a huge gain Friday. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery shot up 5 percent, or $2.41, to settle at $56.52 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London February Brent finished $2.11 higher at $61.38, Reuters reports.
Oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 1,875 rigs were drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. this week, a drop of 18 and the second week in a row that the number has fallen, FuelFix reports.
Comparing present-day statistics with numbers during the oil bust in the mid-1980s has led JP Morgan Chase economist Michael Feroli to warn that Texas could slip into a regional recession next year, FuelFix reports.
Job losses in the power generation sector over the past three years topped 5,800, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration Friday, which said all parts of the industry were affected other than renewable energy, The Hill reports.
Avenue Capital, the hedge fund run by Marc Lasry that specializes in buying distressed companies’ debt, is raising $750 million for a fund that will focus on the energy sector, according to the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement Board, which confirms it has put in $200 million, the New York Post reports.
Tesla is testing the market for battery swaps: Near California supercharging stations where Model S owners can top up their batteries for free, the company is creating a facility where drivers can pay a cost equivalent to a tank of gasoline and get a fully-charged battery installed in three minutes, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The growth of global carbon emissions slowed in 2013 -– although the total of 35.3 billion tons did set a record -- and the rate of increase tailed off despite an uptick in economic activity, says a report from the European Commission’s Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research, or EDGAR, according to E&E.
INEOS hopes to get commercial shale gas production under way in Britain before the end of the decade, according to documents the government released Friday, which detailed the company’s presentation to the Department of Energy and Climate Change in February, Platts reports.