After Years of Delays EPA Surpasses Ethanol Blend Wall
After years of delays the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the country’s biofuel blending requirements, ordering a record 14.5 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply next year. This requirement translates into a mix that will exceed the industry’s ten percent blending wall for the first time in 2016.
Commenting on the blending requirements, Jeff Broin, chairman and chief executive of the Poet LLC, the second biggest ethanol producer in the U.S. said, “The victory is that we are piercing the blend wall,” reports Bloomberg.
The petroleum industry and oil companies are taking the stance that to exceed the blend wall would be dangerous to engines and catalytic converters, with the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute, requesting in a statement, that the EPA set the biofuel requirement at “no more than 9.7 percent of gasoline demand to help avoid the 10 percent ethanol blend wall while meeting strong consumer demand for ethanol-free gasoline,” reports Bloomberg.
Although the EPA allowed ethanol blending to climb to 15% in 2011 for cars manufactured after 2001, the mandates set this week remain about 500 million gallons below the requirements set in 2007 when Congress drafted the law to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
After the new benchmarks are enacted, consumers will likely see the most growth in the availability of E-15 and E-85, meanwhile retailers and industry groups are working together to boost the infrastructure needed, including new filling pumps at stations to support the increase in supply.