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Ethanol Continues Attracting Congressional Attention

Friday, July 18, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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Efforts to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard continue on Capitol Hill. The Congressional Budget Office just published a report on RFS that evaluates how much biofuel production needs to grow to comply with the program, as well as its impact on food prices, fuel prices and emissions under several different scenarios.

The report addresses three scenarios. Under the first, fuel suppliers would have to meet the total requirement for RFS, the requirement for advanced biofuels and the cap on corn ethanol as stated in the Energy Independence and Security Act. The cellulosic requirement would not be required, because the capacity to produce enough fuels is unlikely to be in place by 2017.

The second scenario, called the 2014 Volumes Scenario, would keep the RFS requirements for the next several years at the same level as proposed for 2014.

The third scenario assumes lawmakers abolish the RFS entirely.

The report claims it would be difficult to meet the Volume Scenario in future years due to the expected supply biofuels and ethanol that can be used for older vehicles and vessels. Regarding food prices, CBO says they would be similar whether RFS was continued or repealed. The price of fuel, however, would be impacted. The change is based on a prediction that the price of gasoline will increase 30 cents to 51 cents per gallon. CBO hedged its comment on emissions by saying most emissions benefits will depend on how much advanced fuel is used.

A full copy of the CBO report, titled "The Renewable Fuel Standard: Issues for 2014 and Beyond,” can be downloaded from the CBO website.