Does RIN Data Point To 2014 RFS Rule?

  • Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:00

As we continue to wait on the EPA to announce the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the agency's recent announcement of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) data for June may have provided an inkling of what we can expect.

According to the EPA, as of June, a total of 6.88 billion RINs have been generated this year for ethanol. RINs are assigned to every gallon of renewable fuel produced or imported. Once that renewable fuel is blended into gasoline, the RIN is separated and can be used for trading or compliance purposes, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). You can read more about RINs here.

What this means is that 6.88 billion gallons of ethanol was produced in the first six months of the year. If we were to annualize this figure, total ethanol production in 2014 would amount to 13.76 billion gallons.

Perhaps it's a pure coincidence but a volume of 13.76 billion gallons is very close to the volume that Reuters, citing unidentified biofuel industry sources in May, reported is the EPA's new RVO for ethanol 2014 : 13.6 billion gallons. (In November last year, the EPA originally proposed setting the 2014 RVO for ethanol at 13.01 billion gallons instead of 14.4 billion gallons as originally stipulated in the RFS.)

Indeed, in recent weeks, there have been indications that the EPA has revised its RVO for 2014 upwards and perhaps a volume close to 13.76 billion gallons is the new target. After all, even in the absence of an announcement by the EPA for 2014's RVO, ethanol production this year is on its way to 13.76 billion gallons.