EPA tailpipe rule faces new lawsuit

The EPA overstepped its authority with its so-called tailpipe rule that requires automakers to reduce sharply greenhouse gas emissions from cars and pickup trucks, said the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the National Farmers Union in a lawsuit filed in U.S. appellate court on Monday. It was the second lawsuit in four days to challenge the regulation.

Farm practices will open the door to SAF tax credits, for some

Sustainable aviation fuels will qualify automatically for tax credits of up to $1.25 a gallon if they are derived from corn and soybeans grown under a specific set of carbon-reducing practices, said the Biden administration on Tuesday. Farm groups and biofuel producers grumbled at the restrictions — a fraction of U.S. biofuels would be eligible at present — and said they would seek better terms in the long-term regulations now under consideration.

Coalition: High price, low volume pose challenges to sustainable aviation fuel

Cleaner-burning sustainable jet fuel costs two to four times more than fuel distilled from petroleum, said the newly formed Sustainable Aviation Fuel Coalition, which aims to ramp up production and bring down costs. Aviation accounts for 2 to 3 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

EPA issues waiver allowing summertime sales of E15

Pointing to war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East, the Biden administration announced an emergency waiver allowing summertime sale nationwide of E15, a higher blend of ethanol into gasoline than the traditional 10 percent.

Less corn land is needed than soy to satisfy SAF goal

Soybean plantings would have to increase nearly 50 percent if soybean oil became the only feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), said two analysts from UC-Davis. With its higher yields per acre, corn ethanol as the sole feedstock would result in an increase in area of around 9 percent.

EPA calls for lower-polluting buses and heavy trucks

Manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and buses will be required to produce vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 60 percent by model year 2032 under a new EPA regulation. The agency said a variety of technologies can be used by truck makers to meet the tailpipe emissions target, from cleaner-burning internal combustion engines to hybrids, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells.

EPA approves year-round E15 in Midwest beginning in 2025

Nearly two years after a receiving a petition from eight governors, the Environmental Protection Agency approved on Thursday the year-round sale of higher-blend E15 gasoline in the Midwest, beginning in 2025. Corn growers and ethanol groups said temporary waivers will be needed for E15 again this summer, because otherwise sales will be banned in most of the country under air pollution laws.

U.S. crop sector insulates itself from world market with biofuels, says analyst

After decades of pursuing sales to foreign buyers, the U.S. crop sector is “once again becoming domestic market-focused, due mainly to biofuels policy,” said Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois, on Wednesday. It would be a significant, albeit gradual, change in focus.

Ethanol for aviation will get tax credits, Vilsack assures industry

Ethanol will be included when the Biden administration spells out eligibility for lucrative tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and the incentives will reflect the impact of climate-smart farming practices, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told ethanol makers on Tuesday. "We're working very hard to make that happen, and I'm confident that it will happen."

World’s first ethanol-to-SAF facility opens

Sustainable fuels producer LanzaJet officially opened the first ethanol-to-sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) refinery in the world in southeastern Georgia on Wednesday. The Freedom Pines Fuels plant, which will be able to produce 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel annually, has buyers lined up for its fuel for the next 10 years, said an aviation news site.

Production surges for biomass-based diesel fuel

The production of biomass-based diesel, a category that includes motor and aviation fuel, reached 4 billion gallons in 2023, a 1-billion-gallon gain from the previous year, said the Clean Fuels Alliance America on Monday. "The clean fuels industry achieved what EPA said could not be done – namely continued growth of advanced biodiesel, renewable diesel, SAF [sustainable aviation fuel], and heating oil from sustainably sourced feedstocks,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of the trade group

Ethanol is just inefficient solar energy. Time to bring the real thing to Iowa.

In FERN’s latest story, published with The New Republic, Tom Philpott makes the case for replacing corn grown for ethanol, in Iowa and elsewhere, with fields of solar panels. “For all the backbiting and vitriol, the main candidates in the recent Iowa GOP presidential caucus agreed on a lot …

Rural Iowa was important but not decisive for Trump, says analysis

Former president Donald Trump won 60 percent of the rural vote in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses, well above his statewide total of 51 percent. But his victory Monday in the first-in-the-nation test of voter support for presidential candidates was built on the vote in towns, where most Iowans live, said a Daily Yonder analysis.

House votes against ‘de facto EV mandate’

The Republican-controlled House voted, 221-197, to block a proposed EPA rule on tail-pipe emissions that could make electric vehicles the best-selling new cars and pickup trucks by 2032. The vote on Wednesday stood in contrast to the ongoing UN climate summit, where steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are under discussion.

Ethanol supporters argue for fuel diversity

Rather than promoting electric vehicles, the government should adopt “a diversified portfolio of approaches” in the transportation sector such as flex fuel vehicles, said three ethanol advocates on Monday. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge of the Minnesota rule that …

Playing corn ethanol as Trump card in Iowa

Former president Donald Trump, ignoring his own mixed record on biofuels, said at a rally in western Iowa that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his most viable challenger for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, "totally despises Iowa ethanol and ethanol generally."

To boost sales of higher blends, USDA to put $500 million into biofuel pumps and tanks

The Biden administration is the best friend the biofuel industry ever had, notwithstanding gripes that it set the RFS too low, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. Vilsack defended the administration's record while announcing an additional $450 million to encourage the sale of higher blends of biofuels, such as E15, through installation of dispensing pumps, storage tanks and related equipment.

Biofuel industry says 8 percent increase in RFS is too small

The Biden administration on Wednesday called for an 8 percent increase in biofuel consumption through 2025, with lower-carbon “advanced” fuels as the beneficiaries. Corn ethanol would remain the dominant biofuel at 15 billion gallons a year in the updated Renewable Fuel Standard.

Settlement proposed in green group challenge of RFS

The EPA, to settle a lawsuit over biofuel regulation, said on Monday it would consult with federal wildlife agencies on whether the Renewable Fuel Standard adversely affects endangered species. The consultation would be performed before the EPA finalizes the RFS for 2023-23, now expected in June.

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