EPA Proposes Percentages for 2011 Renewable Fuel Standards

July 14, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed on July 12 the 2011 percentage standards for four fuels categories under the agency's Renewable Fuel Standard program, known as RFS2. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which reach an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve its targets, the EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner, importer, and non-oxygenate blender of gasoline determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that they must use.

Under the proposed overall volumes and standards for 2011, biomass-based diesel will make up 0.68% of overall volume, totaling 0.80 billion gallons; advanced biofuels will make up 0.77%, a total of 1.35 billion gallons; cellulosic biofuels will range from 0.004% to 0.015%, totaling 5-17.1 million gallons; and total renewable fuels will equal 7.95%, or 13.95 billion gallons. In this latest update, EPA is proposing a 2011 cellulosic volume that is lower than the EISA target, based on current market information. However, the agency will continue to evaluate the market before finalizing the cellulosic standard in the coming months.

In addition, EPA is also proposing changes to RFS2 regulations that would potentially apply to renewable fuel producers who use canola oil, grain sorghum, pulpwood, or palm oil as a feedstock. This program rule would allow the fuel produced by those feedstocks dating back to July 1, 2010, to be used for compliance should EPA determine in a future rulemaking that such fuels meet certain greenhouse gas reduction thresholds. The second change would set criteria for foreign feedstocks to be treated like domestic feedstocks in terms of the documentation needed to prove that they can be used to make qualifying renewable fuel under the RFS2 program. Public comment on the renewable fuel standards and the proposed changes to the RFS2 regulations will be due 30 days following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. As of July 13, the proposal had not yet been published. See the EPA press release, the proposed renewable fuels rules , and the Renewable Fuel Standard Web site. Download Adobe Reader.