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.
Oil prices surged 8.3 percent in Friday trading as rig data suggested a slowdown in shale oil development, with Brent crude rising $3.86 to $52.99 a barrel and U.S. crude climbing $3.71 to settle at $48.24 a barrel, Reuters reports.
A survey conducted by Reuters reports that OPEC output rose by 130,000 barrels per day in January as Angola boosted exports and Persian Gulf producers kept steady or increased output, a signal that some members plan to stay the course on maintaining output despite low oil prices.
Despite the collapse of crude oil prices last year, the latest Commerce Department report of gross domestic output showed outlays for new oil rigs and wells rose 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, even as equipment spending across all U.S. businesses fell, Bloomberg reports.
Chevron CEO John Watson, after his company reported lower profits and announced budget cuts, voiced optimism for long-term industry prospects, saying the price of oil will have to rise above $50 per barrel to support new exploration to meet energy needs, FuelFix reports.
A new poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and Resources for the Future suggests that more than two-thirds of Americans, including 48 percent of Republicans, say they consider themselves more likely to support a candidate who supports action to combat climate change.
The National Biodiesel Board in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency voiced frustration with the agency's delayed implementation of biodiesel mandates, saying the slow movement has caused some producers to reduce staff and forced others into bankruptcy, The Hill reports.
A survey of economists by Bloomberg projects that many of the world's largest crude oil exporters like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar could see budget surpluses take hits and slip into deficits as global oil prices remain low.
Chevron, after posting a 30 percent decrease in earnings from the previous year in the fourth quarter 2014, abandoned plans to explore for shale gas in Poland, dealing a blow to efforts to develop hydraulic fracturing and shale drilling industries in Europe, The New York Times reports.
In an interview with E&E, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., vice chairwoman of the Natural Resources Committee and leader of a new Interior and EPA oversight panel, discusses her familiarity with development and ranching issues in western states and her plans to limit Obama administration regulations on public land use.