The federal government is proposing refiners use slightly less ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply next year. However, the cut would not be a blow to corn farmers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the annual mandate for renewable fuel and is suggesting a 2 percent decrease for 2018, down to just over 19 billion gallons.
That cut does not come from corn ethanol, which consumes a large part of the corn crop in the Midwest and the Great Plains. Instead, the cut comes from the more carbon friendly cellulosic biofuels made from things like corn stalks and switchgrass.
The EPA will take comments and finalize the numbers later this year. If the proposal holds up, it would be just the second time the ethanol mandate has decreased from one year to the next.