Nebraska corn growers are breathing a sigh of relief now that the EPA has agreed to set the ethanol target for next year at 15 billion gallons.
Worries spread throughout the Midwest that the EPA would lower the renewable fuel standard from the target set by Congress.
“Fifteen billion gallons is a floor. It’s not a ceiling. It was set as a floor in the RFS. So, we’re going to continue to work on E-15, which is one area that we’ve been working hard in the state as far as infrastructure,” says Roger Berry, Director of Market Development for the Nebraska Corn Board tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Berry says the decision should help stabilize the ethanol industry.
“Here in the last few years as the EPA has cut back on where we’re supposed to be at as far as the levels of the RFS, it has kind of pulled some of that incentive away from investors to make more investments in the state and to build upon the renewable fuel infrastructure that we have here in the state,” Berry says.
Berry says there is still work to do.
The Nebraska Corn Board hopes to increase the use of E-15. The vast majority of ethanol blended fuel is E-10, or 10% ethanol mixed with the gasoline. Newer vehicles are designed to handle a higher percentage of ethanol. Yet, the EPA restricts E-15 to winter months. The Corn Board wants the higher blend to be available year round.
The EPA set the conventional renewable fuel standard (ethanol) at 15 billion gallons for next year. The standard for biodiesel has been set at 100 million gallons. The EPA increased the standard for cellulosic biofuel by 35% and the advanced biofuel standard by 19%. In total, renewable fuel volumes will increase by 1.2 billion gallons from 2016, a 6% increase.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]