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EPA proposes to keep renewable fuel volumes the same for now

Agency says it is on track to meet its Renewable Volume Obligations

Posted July 7, 2017

On July 5, EPA head Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule setting the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in 2018 under the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) program. EPA proposed to keep the volume requirements and associated percentage standards for renewable fuel volumes at levels comparable to the 2017 standards.

The Agency says it is on track to meet its November 30th statutory deadline to make the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) final. EPA bases the proposed volumes on requirements under the law and an analysis of current market dynamics, including energy demand, biofuel production, and market constraints. The proposed standards are intended to help stabilize the renewable fuels program and provide certainty for stakeholders.

Key elements in the proposed rule include:

  • Non-advanced or conventional renewable fuel volumes will meet the 15-billion gallon target set by Congress.
  • The biomass-based diesel standard for 2019 would be maintained at the 2018 level of 2.1 billion gallons.

In addition, EPA is beginning research for a future rule to reset the statutory volumes for cellulosic, advanced, and total biofuels.

The proposed and final renewable fuel volume requirements for 2014-2019 are as follows:

  2017 Proposed 2018 Proposed 2019
Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons): 311 238 n/a
Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons): 2.0 2.1 (final standard) 2.1
Advanced biofuel (billion gallons): 4.28 4.24 n/a
Renewable fuel (billion gallons): 19.28 19.24 n/a

EPA is also taking comments on how to address concerns that some RSF obligations are being met with imported fuel from Brazil, Argentina, and Indonesia. Other issues the Agency is assessing include higher levels of ethanol-free gasoline and reinforcing an existing memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission on analyzing and addressing several market concerns, including the need for increased transparency.

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