WASHINGTON DC (June 21, 2023) – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2023-2025 and increased the volume of biofuels required in transportation fuel, despite the Biden administration’s stated strategy to eliminate emissions from cars and trucks through electrification.  

Biofuels produced from crops, such as corn ethanol and soy biodiesel, require a large amount of land for fuel production. Today, 60 million acres of U.S. farmland is being used to produce fuel and 40% of all corn grown in the US is converted to ethanol. The amount of land dedicated to fuel production harms the climate and consumers as the growing global land squeeze threatens food security.

World Resources Institute and Earthjustice submitted comments during the rule's review period that urged the EPA to adopt a new policy framework to guide the RFS program in line with the shift in technology and electrification that has occurred since 2007.  

Following is a statement by Dan Lashof, U.S. Director, World Resources Institute:

“Our future will not be propelled by corn – though you might think otherwise based on the Renewable Fuel Standard set by the EPA today.  

“The EPA’s biofuels push will hamper the United States’ climate efforts rather than bolster them. Biofuels were thought to be a climate solution fifteen years ago but today we know converting crops to fuel is a disaster for the planet. It increases emissions, raises food prices and is a terrible use of prime farmland.

“More than one-third of all the corn produced in the U.S. is used to make ethanol. That is an incredible waste when you consider that it takes 300 acres worth of corn ethanol to move a combustion-engine car as far as a single acre of modern solar panels can move an electric vehicle.

“American farmers are already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change. The government should be supporting farmers to adopt climate-smart agriculture practices that produce food, store carbon and conserve biodiversity – not incentivize them to use their land to produce fuels that make the climate crisis worse.

“There is no longer a debate about what transportation will look like in coming years – it will be electric. Instead of creating policies that prop up climate-warming biofuels, the United States should be focused on investing in electrifying vehicles and powering them with zero-emissions electricity as quickly as possible. It’s time the United States left crop-based biofuels in the rearview mirror and speed toward the electric future.”