EPA Jacks Up Mandate For “Advanced Biofuels,” Rising Fuel Prices Not Far Behind

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The EPA on Friday increased the mandate, under the Renewable Fuels Standard, for so-called “advanced biofuels” (defined as fuels not made from edible crops like corn).  This means that Americans will be forced to buy more of a fuel that is both expensive and unreliable in that suppliers have had a hard time producing enough of the stuff before this increase in the mandate.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday raised biofuels targets for 2013 despite an ongoing legal battle with the oil-and-gas industry on the issue.

Refiners will be required to blend 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel — which EPA includes in its definition of “advanced” biofuels — into traditional transportation fuel in 2013, up from 1 billion gallons this year.

“This action, which meets goals designated by Congress, is another step that strengthens America’s energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Friday in a statement. …

But advanced biofuels have struggled to reach commercial-scale production. That has led the American Petroleum Institute (API) to sue EPA over the RFS mandate, claiming the agency pinned advanced biofuels targets on unrealistic market conditions.

“EPA’s mandate will unnecessarily raise the cost of making diesel fuel. This is bad public policy that could burden consumers and businesses already pressed with higher energy costs,” Bob Greco, API’s downstream group director, said Friday in a statement. “By picking energy winners and losers, EPA takes away consumer choice and further threatens public acceptance of biofuels.”

I don’t have a problem with biofuels.  It’d be great if they worked.  The problem is they don’t.  They don’t work as well as gasoline, they cost more than gasoline and their supplies aren’t reliable.

And you don’t have to take my word for it.  If these biofuels were great, if they gave consumers advantages in price and/or performance, then the federal government wouldn’t have to mandate their use.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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