A gas demand meltdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. has sparked a new battle between the oil and agriculture industries over the nation’s biofuel coverage, this time over whether the policy ought to be suspended or expanded because of the disaster.
The issue as soon as again locations Republican President Donald Trump in a troublesome spot between two important constituencies, both of which have been pushed to the edge by the pandemic because of flagging consumption, disrupted supply chains and lowered workforces.
The oil refining industry and its supporters have asked the Trump administration to help the sector weather the pandemic by suspending a regulatory requirement that they mix billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol into their gasoline each year, arguing it’s a price many facilities can’t currently afford.
The corn foyer, in the meantime, has been pushing for the blending necessities, mandated under the U.S. Renewable Gasoline Standard, to be expanded to assist farmers who’ve seen demand for their crop fall swiftly as biofuel plants throughout the nation go idle.
While the refining and corn sectors have clashed for years over the biofuel mixing requirements, the problem is now being framed as a matter of survival.
On Wednesday, the governors of Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming asked the Trump management for a nationwide waiver, excluding the oil-refining sector from the blending laws to help it survive.