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US EPA proposes renewable fuel standards for 2014-2016

3 June 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a long overdue proposal for volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and also proposed volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2017. The proposal was released on May 29, adhering to the schedule in a recent consent decree with the fuel industry.

The EPA has proposed to establish the 2014 standards at levels that reflect the actual amount of domestic biofuel used in that year; the standards for 2015 and 2016 (and 2017 for biodiesel) increase steadily over time, as shown below.

Proposed Renewable Fuel Volumes (millions of gallons)
Cellulosic biofuel33106206n/a
Biomass-based diesel1,6301,7001,8001,900
Advanced biofuel2,6802,9003,400n/a
Total renewable fuel15,93016,30017,400n/a
Units for volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel volumes which are expressed as physical gallons.
Proposed Percentage Standards
Cellulosic biofuel0.019%0.059%0.114%
Biomass-based diesel1.42%1.41%1.49%
Advanced biofuel1.52%1.61%1.88%
Total renewable fuel9.02%9.04%9.63%

While the proposed volumes are lower than the Clean Air Act targets—for total renewable fuels, the Clean Air Act (CAA) target is 18,150 millions of gallons for 2014; 20,500 for 2015; and 22,250 for 2016—they represent growth over historic levels. For example:

The proposal was long overdue—Under the CAA, the EPA has a legal obligation to set the annual RFS mandates by 30 November of the preceding year, but the EPA has not yet issued the 2014 or 2015 requirements (the EPA proposed RFS volumes for 2014, but never finalized the rule). In March 2015, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) filed a lawsuit over EPA’s failure to meet mandated RFS deadlines. Under a proposed consent decree, the EPA has committed to propose the 2015 standards by June 1, 2015, and to finalize the volume requirements for 2014 and 2015 by 30 November 2015.

The proposal is open for public comments until 27 July 2015.

Source: US EPA