USDA sets biofuel goals

USDA sets biofuel goals
Feb 21, 2020

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Biofuels could make up 30 per cent of the national transportation fuel supply by 2050

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants biofuels to make up more of the nation’s transportation fuel supply in the coming years.

As part of the agency’s new Agriculture Innovation Agenda, which aligns resources and research to help U.S. ag meet global needs, the USDA plans to have biofuels make up 15 per cent of transportation fuel in 2030 and 30 per cent of those fuels by 2050.

The U.S. produced more than 16 billion gallons of ethanol in 2018.

Refineries are required to blend about 20 billion gallons of biofuel this year, which represents about 10 per cent of crude oil production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.

Achieving this goal will take co-operation from another federal agency.

“As long as the (Environmental Protection Agency) follows the law and stops giving away small refinery exemptions,” said Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Risk Management. “But it’s over a long period of time. Governments can change and so can policy, so it’s great for the industry but we will have to wait to see if it happens.”

Renewable fuel manufacturers are ready to help the USDA meet its goals in the years to come.

“American farmers and ethanol producers have a long history of rising to meet ambitious goals and taking on daunting challenges, and we are excited and eager to work with the Administration to make this new vision a reality,” Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said in a Feb. 20 statement.

President Trump has already taken steps to ensure more biofuels are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

In May 2019 he approved year-round sales of E15. The EPA previously banned the sale of that blend from June 1 to Sept. 15 each year to limit emissions during the summer months.

Increasing the volume of biofuels in America’s fuel supply is “maybe one of the easiest to achieve, with going from E10 to E15, that’s a 50 per cent increase,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a news conference, Reuters reported.

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