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Almost 200 US lawmakers urge EPA to reduce biofuel mandate

In the US, nearly 200 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging it to not increase the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In the letter, addressed to the EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, 184 House members from both major US parties claimed that increasing the amount of biofuel in the nation’s fuel supply could lead to vehicle damage.

The RFS requires a set amount of biofuel to be added to the US petrol supply each year, instead of the more common approach of setting a percentage of biofuel that needs to be present in fuel sold.

The RFS is set to be increased to 36 million gallons of biofuel by 2022.

But the House members, based on Energy Information Administration data, claim that due to decreasing petrol demand, increasing the biofuel requirement for 2016 would push the national biofuel-to-fuel mix over 10% which most of the US vehicle base would not be able to handle.

The letter reads, ‘This proposal is problematic not only in principle, but it is also impractical since it would take decades, not months, to build out the compatible vehicle fleet and install the necessary retail infrastructure to accommodate the higher blends of ethanol.’

Not only this, the letter also argues that even a lowered 2016 standard would prove harmful for a lion’s share of US vehicles.

On the other hand, on the West Coast a group of California House members also sent a letter to the EPA.

These lawmakers, however, are calling for the agency to increase the RFS to level originally envisioned by the US Congress when the standard was passed.

The EPA is set to announce the final biofuel volumes for 2014, 2015, and 2016 on 30 November.

The retroactive amount for 2014 would be 15.93 billion gallons of biofuel, with the 2015 and 2016 standards being set at 16.3 and 17.4 billion gallons respectively.

These levels are below the targets specified by the US Congress in the Clean Air Act.