EPA Proposes 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards

EPA Proposes 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards

By the US EPA, Released January 31, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2).

The proposal announced today will be open for a 45-day public comment period and EPA will consider feedback from a range of stakeholders before the proposal is finalized. EPA continues to support the use of renewable fuels within the transportation sector through the RFS2 program, which encourages innovation, strengthens American energy security, and decreases greenhouse gas pollution.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The proposed 2013 overall volumes and standards are:

Biomass-based diesel (1.28 billion gallons; 1.12 percent)
Advanced biofuels (2.75 billion gallons; 1.60 percent)
Cellulosic biofuels (14 million gallons; 0.008 percent)
Total renewable fuels (16.55 billion gallons; 9.63 percent)

Overall, EPA’s RFS2 program encourages greater use of renewable fuels, including advanced biofuels. For 2013, the program is proposing to implement EISA’s requirement to blend more than 1.35 billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2012.

More information on the standards and regulations.
More information on renewable fuels.

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Full Regulatory Announcement with background information, summary of major provisions, impacts and more.

Here is the Proposed Rule, all 150 pages of it.

U.S. EPA News Release: EPA Proposes Changes to Enhance Confidence in RIN Trading in the RFS Program

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Here are some opinions already being posted online:

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) responded to today’s announcement saying, “companies are right now commissioning commercial cellulosic biofuel refineries and constructing additional facilities – creating thousands of new jobs in the process. The visible progress of the industry is proof that the Renewable Fuel Standard works.”

“This announcement offers certainty throughout the biodiesel supply chain, will grow green collar jobs and enhances our nation’s energy independence,” said Renewable Energy Group‘s President, Daniel J. Oh.

In response to today’s announcement, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen offered the following comments:
, “The 2013 RFS requirements will be the catalyst that finally compels oil companies to get serious about breaching the so-called blend wall. This year’s RFS requirements will necessitate the use of more E15, E85 and other higher-level blends. Injecting larger volumes of biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply and spurring a more rapid transition to domestically produced renewables is exactly what the RFS was intended to do.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President Charles T. Drevna commented on the EPA decision” “EPA’s decision to increase the biomass diesel volume… serves to increase our nation’s fuel bill. Given the exorbitant cost of biodiesel, its poor performance qualities, significant fraud in the biodiesel industry, and the drought facing our nation’s farmers and ranchers, this is a bad decision at the wrong time… AFPM submitted comments and met with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to outline the problems associated with increasing the amount of biodiesel beyond the statutory minimum of one billion gallons. Today’s decision will force consumers to pay almost $500 million more next year…”

Only two days ago, the article “New Evidence of E15 Fuel Damage Confirms Case Against Renewable Fuel Standard” was released.

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Here is an update from the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI). TAIT is a longstanding member of PEI and recently collaborated on the new RP1200. Regarding  Renewable Fuel Standards, PEI wrote:

US COURT THROWS OUT CELLULOSIC BIOFUEL TARGET
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has suspended a rule requiring oil refineries to blend cellulosic biofuels into gasoline, agreeing with the oil industry that the policy is unfair because such fuels are not widely available. The federal court said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to exercise reasonable discretion when it sets annual blending targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) but had failed to do so with respect to last year’s targets.

EPA TO DROP PLAN FOR DIRECT FINAL RULE FOR 2013 RFS?
The EPA will likely issue the renewable fuel standard volume requirements for 2013 as a proposed rule rather than a direct final rule, EPA assistant administrator Gina McCarthy told BNA in an interview January 18. Issuing the standards, which were due November 30, 2012, as a direct final rule would have bypassed the lengthier proposed rule and public comment process. However, EPA would have been required to proceed with the proposed rule process had it received any adverse comments on the direct final rule, which were expected given the petroleum industry’s resistance to the renewable fuel standard.