The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering 39 pending petitions for small-refinery waivers that would release those refiners from complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2018.
The EPA previously approved 53 small refinery waivers from 2016 and 2017. These waivers have a direct impact on rural America and corn farmers. With an already tough economic environment, more waiver abuse will continue to chip away at farmers’ bottom line by destroying demand for corn.
The waivers are drawing the ire of the ethanol industry. In late April, the Advanced Biofuels Association filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler from granting any additional exemptions until the resolution of its pending lawsuit against the EPA.
Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and in coordination with the Energy Department, the EPA can grant waivers exempting small refiners that demonstrate economic hardship from meeting biofuel-blending targets. Refiners can also meet the yearly biofuel mandates by buying renewable fuel credits.
While the EPA considers this round of waiver requests, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) put together 39 facts and reasons that the agency shouldn’t grant the waivers.
- 53 – The number of refinery waivers the EPA granted for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years since early 2018.
- 39 – The number of refinery exemptions EPA Administrator Wheeler has pending for 2018.
- 4 percent – The percentage of the 2017 RFS ethanol volume waived through SREs.
- 636 million – The difference in the amount of corn bushels needed to meet the RFS volume EPA set for 2017 and the amount needed to meet the effective volume after the waivers.
- 8 – Highest number of refinery exemption petitions granted annually between 2013 and 2015.
- 105 million – USDA’s projected decline in bushels of corn used to produce ethanol in the 18/19 marketing year compared to the 17/18 marketing year.
- 13-year low – Ethanol prices dropped to this level in order to maintain markets.
- 07 percent – The 2018 ethanol blend rate, a decline from 2017 blending because waivers destroy demand for higher ethanol blends.
- 5 percent – In April 2018, the monthly ethanol blend rate hit a five-year low after news of the waivers.
- 15 billion – The implied ethanol volume gallons as set by the Renewable Fuel Standard and that the law obligates EPA to ensure is met.
- 790 million – The number of ethanol-equivalent gallons waived in compliance year 2016.
- 82 billion – Ethanol-equivalent gallons waived in compliance year 2017.
- 5 billion – The number of gallons that biodiesel demand has been reduced in three years because of waivers.
- 600 million – That’s how many gallons of ethanol production capacity has been taken offline in recent months.
- 2 – Legal actions NCGA has joined to challenge EPA’s use of SREs and their failure to reallocate retroactive exemptions.
- 20 years – Number of consecutive years ethanol consumption has grown before it declined in 2018.
- 6 – The number of consecutive years farmers are dealing with a depressed income and lower commodity prices.
- 43 percent – Lower greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol compared to gasoline. Waivers increase emissions.
- 500 million – Gallons the EPA has yet to restore that the U.S. Court of Appeals found EPA improperly waived from 2016 volume requirements.
- 1 – The number of times year-over-year domestic ethanol use has declined in 20 years; this first-ever decline occurred in 2018 following EPA’s expanded use of waivers.
- 61 billion – Gallons that 2016 and 2017 RFS requirements have been reduced because of SRE’s.
- 8 percent – Decline in volume of aromatic hydrocarbons, the most harmful compounds in gasoline with high cancer-causing potential, due to increased ethanol blending.
- $1.5 billion – 2017 profit for Andeavor, when three of the company’s 10 refineries received small refinery waivers.
- 27 – The number of states with ethanol biorefineries.
- 210 – The total number of ethanol biorefineries in the U.S.
- 1 billion – Gallons of ethanol produced in 2018.
- 365,883 – Direct and indirect jobs tied to the ethanol industry.
- 940 million gallons – Decrease in domestic ethanol use between 2019-2022 in the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Center’s 2019 agriculture outlook baseline compared to FAPRI’s 2018 outlook.
- $10 billion – The tax revenue generated from the ethanol industry for federal, state and local governments.
- 50 cents to $1.50 – Consumer savings per gallon because ethanol costs less and keeps fuel prices steady.
- $45 billion – How much the ethanol industry contributed to gross domestic product.
- $24 billion – Added to household income because ethanol lowers gas prices and saves drivers money at the pump.
- 550 million – Barrels of oil displaced annually by blending ethanol.
- 575 billion – Bushels of corn used in 2018 for ethanol and DDG production.
- 0 – The number of refinery waivers/petitions that should be approved from the 2018 compliance year.
- 100 percent – Corn growers disagree with refinery waivers and want the EPA to take steps to keep the RFS whole when granting waivers.
- $19 billion – Exxon Mobil’s net income for 2017, the same year one of its refineries received a RFS small refinery hardship waiver.
- $9.2 billion – Chevron’s net income in 2017, the same year one of its refineries received a RFS small refinery hardship waiver.
- 1 – The number of days it takes EPA to reverse course and stop granting waivers.