The Environmental Protection Agencyslashed the amount of ethanol that oil refiners must blend into the country’s gasoline supply for the first time Friday after months of intense lobbying by the biofuel and oil industries.
The EPA had increased the amount of ethanol refiners are required to blend under the Renewable Fuels Standard every year since the program was created in 2005.
The oil industry argued it was rapidly approaching a “blend wall,” when the ethanol supply would outpace the amount motorists could use, due to the mandate.
Critics also argued the renewable fuels standard distorted markets and raised food prices. The ethanol industry and its allies say the requirement brings greater energy independence to the country and spurs new, greener technology.
The agency raised the requirement to 16.55 billion gallons of ethanol this year. However, the EPA’s new proposal would lower that requirement to 15.2 billion gallons next year, roughly the same as the 2012 standard.