One of the big questions facing the ethanol and corn industries heading into 2019 is whether the EPA will continue to grant RFS waivers to oil refiners-and, if so, how many and how much.
National Corn Growers Association president Lynn Chrisp says there’s no question those waivers have hurt the ethanol industry.
“EPA plays games with the numbers,” Chrisp says, “They announce a Renewable Volume Obligation of 15 billion gallons and then proceed to get the knife out and start cutting away at that demand potential.”
If EPA continues to grant waivers, Chrisp says, the 15 billion gallon requirement for conventional ethanol cannot be met.
“The waivers that they have granted over the last couple of years are something close to 2.4 billion gallons. And when you’re dealing with that, it starts backloading and puts pressure on the industry because of the price and a surplus supply of ethanol.”
According to Ethanol Producer magazine, as of mid-December, the EPA had received 22 petitions seeking small refinery waivers for the 2018 compliance year. That compares to 37 small refinery petitions received in all of 2017.
All 22 petitions for 2018 are still pending.