EPA Finalizes 2013 RFS Standards
Created by rrummel on 8/7/2013 12:11:32 PM

Deadline to comply extended 4 months

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the Renewable Fuel Standard program Tuesday. The final overall volumes and standards require 16.55-billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply - a 9.74-percent blend. Specifically - the standard requires 1.28-billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, 2.75-billion gallons of advanced biofuels and six-million gallons of cellulosic biofuels. EPA says these standards reflect updated production projections - which are informed by extensive engagement with industry and a thorough assessment of the biofuels market.

EPA notes a number of stakeholders submitted comments concerning the E10 blend wall during this rulemaking. The E10 blend wall refers to the difficulty in incorporating ethanol into the fuel supply at volumes exceeding those achieved by the sale of nearly all gasoline as E10. That’s projected to occur in 2014. In the rule issued Tuesday - EPA announced it will propose to use flexibilities in the RFS statute to reduce both the advanced biofuel and total renewable volumes in the forthcoming 2014 RFS volume requirement proposal. The agency is also providing greater lead time and flexibility in complying with the 2013 volume requirements. The deadline to comply is extended by four months to June 30 of 2014.

Brooke Coleman - Advanced Ethanol Council Executive Director - says the Environmental Protection Agency has clearly done its homework when it comes to setting the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard’s volumetric blending requirements. Coleman says the commercial cellulosic biofuel facilities EPA projected to start up in 2013 are indeed operating - and agrees that the adjusted targets reflect the number of actual gallons expected to be available through the end of the year. According to Coleman - this is a critical juncture in the implementation of the RFS and careful administration of the program is critical to get the right balance between the legislative intent of the program and the market response to the program. Amidst all the smoke and mirrors coming from those who don’t want to see competition in the motor fuel marketplace - Coleman says people need to remember the renewable fuels industry produced enough conventional and advanced renewable fuel to meet the original legislated standard through 2012 and expects to again in 2013.

National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel says the target will clearly be met and will continue to diversify the country’s fuel supplies so we aren’t at the mercy of global oil markets every time we fill up at the pump. The EPA rule finalizes an earlier proposal requiring that 2.75-billion gallons of advanced biofuel be blended into the U.S. fuel supply this year. Advanced biofuels must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50-percent compared with petroleum fuels. NBB notes biodiesel is the first and only advanced biofuel under the program to reach commercial-scale production nationwide - and the first to break one-billion gallons in annual volume.

The biodiesel industry produced nearly 1.1-billion gallons last year - enough fuel to fill 87-percent of the total advanced biofuel requirement in 2012. This year - the industry is on pace to again fill a majority of the requirement. Steckel says biodiesel is proving that advanced biofuels are working today and can reduce prices for consumers. She says the RFS is a critical component to that success - adding that this latest rule will help stimulate new technologies and additional growth.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says his group is pleased the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized the 2013 biofuel volumes and continues to show a strong commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard. He says Growth Energy strongly supports increasing levels of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel supply. Buis notes the RFS is a resounding success - helping create jobs in America that can’t be outsourced and revitalizing rural economies across the country in addition to reducing our dependence on foreign oil. At the same time - he says it’s helping improve the environment and providing choice and savings for consumers at the pump. Growth Energy provided substantive comments to the proposed volumes earlier this year - demonstrating continued support for the success and flexibility of the RFS. Buis says they will closely review this final rule.