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EPA Proposes 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards

Posted on November 15, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel as required by Congress under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Developed with input from the U.S. Dept. of Energy and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the proposal seeks public input on annual volume requirements for renewable fuels in all motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported by the United States in 2014. The proposal seeks to put the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program on a steady path while seeking input on different approaches to address the “E10 blend wall.”

The proposal discusses a variety of approaches for setting the 2014 standards and includes a number of production and consumption ranges for key categories of biofuel covered by the RFS program. The proposal seeks comment on a range of total renewable fuel volumes for 2014 and proposes a level within that range of 15.21 billion gallons.

The proposed volumes are:

Category

Proposed Volume a

Range

Cellulosic biofuel

17 mill gal

8-30 million gallons

Biomass-based diesel

1.28 bill gal

1.28 billion gallons

Advanced biofuel

2.20 bill gal

2.0-2.51 billion gallons

Renewable fuel

15.21 bill gal

15.00-15.52 billion gallons

aAll volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel which is actual

 
Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. is now E10, which is fuel with up to 10% ethanol. Production of renewable fuels has been growing but at the same time, advances in vehicle fuel economy and other economic factors have pushed gasoline consumption far lower than what was expected when Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007. As a result, the nation is at the point at which the E10 fuel pool is saturated with ethanol, also known as the “E10 blend wall.” If gasoline demand continues to decline, as currently forecast, continuing growth in the use of ethanol will require greater use of higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85.

In 2010, EPA approved E15 for use in vehicles newer than model year 2001 and developed labeling rules to enable retailers to market E15. But the E15 mandate has drawn loud opposition from the manufacturers of small engines and equipment, which have argued that E15 is harmful to their products and that EPA's education and pump labeling requirements are inadequate to prevent misfueling.

The 2014 proposal seeks input on what additional actions could be taken by government and industry to help overcome current market challenges and to minimize the need for adjustments in the statutory renewable fuel volume requirements in the future.

In a separate action, EPA is also seeking comment on petitions for a waiver of the renewable fuel standards that would apply in 2014. EPA expects that a determination on the substance of the petitions will be issued at the same time that EPA issues a final rule establishing the 2014 RFS. Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, it will be open to a 60-day public comment period.

More information on the standards and regulations is available at the EPA website.

www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/regulations.htm

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