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Biden administration likely to raise ethanol blending volumes for 2021

By Jarrett Renshaw and Stephanie Kelly

June 1 (Reuters) - The Biden administration is likely to raise ethanol blending mandates for 2021 above its proposed figure in December to align with U.S. consumption, according to two sources briefed on the decision.

In December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed refiners blend 13.32 billion gallons of ethanol into the fuel pool, a move that angered farm-belt lawmakers and the industry who said it was too low. Recent federal figures show U.S. consumption of ethanol at about 13.94 billion gallons.

Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel pool, or buy tradable credits from those that do. A final decision on biofuel blending mandates for 2020, 2021, and 2022 is expected by Friday.

Administration officials huddled at the White House on Tuesday to review options, the sources said. The meeting underscores the political implications of the upcoming decision, which will impact fuel and food prices amid a 40-year high in inflation rates.

The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the RFS, did not immediately comment. (Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Stephanie Kelly)

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