Warning of food and gas price hikes, critics fight EPA rule to boost biofuels

With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) poised to finalize a rule setting annual biofuel production goals, industry players from jet fuel producers to pet food makers are warning the rule will hike already rising food and gas prices and exacerbate supply shortages.

The renewable fuel standard (RFS) rule, due to be finalized Friday under a deadline set in an April 22 consent decree, is seen by its supporters as a key step in lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fighting climate change. Biofuels proponents say there is sufficient feedstock – renewable material which can be used or converted to use as transportation fuel, such as corn – to satisfy ambitious RFS goals while also meeting needs for non-fuel uses like food.

But critics say anticipated RFS annual production target increases will have massive and widespread negative effects on everything from grocery store prices to fuel supplies.