Throughout his presidential marketing campaign, Joe Biden promoted biofuels as a part of his platform.
This isn’t significantly unusual; with roughly 40 p.c of American corn going to ethanol, selling biofuels (which are sometimes made out of corn) is taken into account a reasonably apparent technique to win over the farm vote. However a report from Reuters has despatched shockwaves via the biofuel business: it claims that Biden “is considering ways to provide relief to US oil refiners from biofuel blending mandates.”
Since its conception in 2005, the Renewable Gas Normal (RFS) has compelled gasoline refiners to mix in a sure share of renewable fuels, resembling biofuel. That minimal, although, permits for producers to both mix (dearer) biofuels into their gasoline and diesel or to buy credit from a producer that does. However refiners are allowed to use for exemptions displaying that buying biofuel would represent an financial hardship. Beneath Donald Trump’s presidency, the variety of these exemptions granted was far increased than in years previous (although a few of these have been overturned).
Biden, although he has pushed closely for electrical autos, additionally touted biofuels as a form of bridge between the fossil fuel-oriented current and an electrical future. So this Reuters report, which describes his new tackle biofuels as an “about-face,” comes as a little bit of a shock. Together with a report from Bloomberg, the rumors appear to be that the Biden administration is eager on protecting biofuel necessities flat, and even decrease than they presently are.
These rumors prompted responses from the corn business, the ethanol business and the numerous elected officers who symbolize corn-growing districts. A letter from teams together with the Nationwide Farmers Union, the Nationwide Corn Growers Affiliation and the Renewable Fuels Group says that this administration should “hold strong on the RFS,” and urges the Biden administration to “take a hard look at oil refinery earnings reports and east coast refining margins to fully appreciate the truth behind false claims of economic hardship.”
An analogous letter was composed by Senator Amy Klobuchar and a number of other different members of Congress, primarily representing Midwestern areas with vital corn industries. “We urge you to reject any actions under discussion to exempt oil refiners of their obligations under the RFS and uphold your commitment to combatting climate change and supporting our nation’s farmers,” the letter reads. On the Republican facet, Senator Chuck Grassley joined in with pleas to maintain the RFS intact.
It’s value noting that not everyone seems to be such a giant fan of biofuels, even trying past the gasoline refiners attempting to save lots of a couple of dollars. Rising corn for gasoline is, writes Tom Philpott at Mom Jones, far much less energy-efficient than utilizing the identical land for photo voltaic panels. Although biofuels cut back the necessity for oil, they nonetheless require an inner combustion engine. Regardless of what appears to be a major lower in greenhouse gases over your complete rising and refining course of, you’re nonetheless burning gasoline if you use them—and that may’t compete with zero-emissions electrical autos.