The announcement sparked mixed reaction from opponents who said it seems short-sighted to green groups calling for more action.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it extending a deadline for biofuel targets for this year and would lower benchmarks set for 2014 in a decision meant to give refineries more flexibility.
The oil industry has challenged biofuel targets, saying an increase could harm vehicle engines. Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, said his organization was "disappointed" it could not get "immediate and necessary" relief on biofuels.
"Congress now needs to start working on repealing this poorly-devised mandate as soon as possible to stop what will become a growing drain on the U.S. economy," he said in a statement Tuesday.
The EPA said its renewable fuel standards program would ensure energy security and reduce carbon pollution.
"Most of these fuels are produced by American farmers and growers domestically and help reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change," it said in a statement.
The Renewable Fuels Association issued a statement Tuesday saying opposition from the oil industry is "smoke and mirrors" designed to prohibit green competition in the motor fuel marketplace.