USDA on Friday announced it would begin a $100 million investment in blender pumps, aiming to double the amount of pumps available for consumers to choose higher renewable fuel blends. EPA also announced its proposed 2014-16 RVOs, falling short of Congressional mandates but moving higher than previous proposals.
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(First posted 8 a.m., 5/29) The Obama Administration is expected to lay out plans Friday for funding that will ultimately make it easier for consumers to use more ethanol in their cars, just as the U.S. EPA releases production requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Related: EPA forced to release RFS levels
According to the reports from Bloomberg and Reuters, USDA could offer about $100 million for blender pump infrastructure. Blender pumps give consumers broader control in how much ethanol is mixed with gasoline for use in cars.
USDA has reportedly declined to comment on the rumored announcement, but Reuters noted the pumps could expand the use of 85% ethanol, or E85, thereby increasing demand for the fuel.
EPA in 2013 cited the "blend wall" as a key reason why it advocated lower proposed ethanol volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard – a policy that mandates how much ethanol is produced in the U.S.
The blend wall, EPA explained at the time, represents market saturation of 10% ethanol due to falling gasoline consumption and thus, inability to blend ethanol into the available fuel supply without raising blend levels. Blender pumps may help overcome this hurdle.
EPA is scheduled to release new RFS renewable volume obligations Friday, reports say, following a June 1 deadline it announced earlier this year.
In years past EPA has caught criticism for its sluggish RVO announcements; it was nine months late in 2013 in issuing the renewable volume obligations and more than 17 months late in issuing the 2014 rule.
Friday's announcement is expected to include RVOs for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
For more, read the related reports:
USDA plans to inject $100 million on ethanol infrastructure: sources (Reuters)
Obama Said to Give $100 Million to Boost Ethanol Use in Cars (Bloomberg)