The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Nov. 30 that it is mandating the statutory maximum 15 billion gallons of ethanol be added to the domestic fuel supply in 2018, the second consecutive year EPA has mandated the maximum amount of ethanol allowed under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The currently mandated volume for 2017 is also 15 billion gallons; with only weeks left in 2017, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy is forecasting the total domestic use of ethanol for the year to be just 14.4 billion gallons.
“Corn ethanol, of all blends, has saturated the domestic market, and the industry, protected by the RFS, just continues to produce ethanol at a pace faster than consumption can grow,” noted the National Chicken Council in comments submitted in August to the EPA.
The EIA’s November forecast puts ethanol production this year at approximately 15.8 billion gallons. The RFS adopted by Congress in 2007 provides a cap on conventional ethanol at 15 billion gallons.
“EPA just keeps trying to pump more ethanol into a fuel market that doesn’t have room,” said NCC President Mike Brown. “Over the past decade the RFS has created an incredibly volatile corn market to the detriment of all corn users, and producers too. Today’s announcement adds to the long list of reasons that Congress should repeal the RFS and the mess it has created for both food and fuel markets.”