The RFS Is Broken

EPA’S Seldom-on-time Rate With Ethanol Mandates

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, EPA sets annual requirements for the amount of ethanol that refiners must blend into the
nation’s fuel supply. Under the law the ethanol mandates for a given year are to be finalized by Nov. 30 of the preceding year. Since
the law went into effect EPA has met that deadline just once (2011), and it appears the problem is worsening. In the graphic
below, calendar icons represent each month the standards were late.

The RFS is broken

The RFS is indeed broken. In November the EPA
basically agreed, announcing it was giving up on issuing
ethanol-use requirements for 2014 with just a little over
a month to go. Instead, the agency said it will complete
the 2014 targets in 2015 “prior to or in conjunction with
action on the 2015 standards rule.”

The agency’s inability to meet the RFS deadline – it
hasn’t actually met the statutory deadline once in the
past five years (though the 2011 rule was only nine days
late, close enough to call it on time) – offers little hope
that things will improve. The RFS is an example of topdown
central planning that’s detached from reality and
which has created distortions in the marketplace and
uncertainty among those who’re obligated to operate
under it.

What the RFS has become is an illustration of the pitfalls
of government trying to mandate consumer behavior
through a program whose goals have largely been
achieved by surging U.S. energy production.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is indeed broken.
In November the EPA basically agreed, announcing it
was giving up on issuing ethanol-use requirements for
2014 – already a year overdue – with just a little over a
month to go in the calendar year. Instead, the agency
said it will complete the 2014 targets in 2015 “prior to or
in conjunction with action on the 2015 standards rule”
– standards that also are late.