Wednesday, February 03, 2010

EPA Renewable Fuel Standard: Final Rule

EPA signed off on the Final Rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program on February 3, 2010. This action is also setting the 2010 RFS volume standard at 12.95 billion gallons (bg). Further, for the first time, EPA is setting volume standards for specific categories of renewable fuels including cellulosic, biomass-based diesel, and total advanced renewable fuels. For 2010, the cellulosic standard is being set at 6.5 million gallons (mg); biomass based diesel standard is being set at 1.15 bg, (combining the 2009 and 2010 standards as proposed).

EPA is finalizing changes to the RFS program, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the United State contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The new requirements increase the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The rule was developed in collaboration with refiners, renewable fuel producers, and many other stakeholders.

About half of the gasoline used today in the United States is blended with ethanol at levels of up to 10% by volume (this is called "E10"). Ethanol blends at higher volumes, such as 85% ("E85"), are available in some areas for use in specially designed "flexible-fuel vehicles." Biodiesel has been used most widely in Minnesota, and can now be found in many other states.

Manufacturers expect ethanol blends of up to 10% to be fully compatible with current and previously manufactured gasoline-powered vehicles and engines. Biodiesel’s compatibility with vehicles and engines depends on the amount of biodiesel in the diesel fuel blend as well as the specific vehicle or engine. Most diesel-powered vehicles and engines are compatible with a level of up to 5% biodiesel, while some vehicles and engines are compatible with a higher percentage.

EPA estimates that the RFS program will cut petroleum use by up to 3.9 billion gallons and greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 13.1 million metric tons annually by 2012 -- the equivalent of eliminating the greenhouse-gas emissions of 2.3 million cars.

The rule is expected to increase the cost of food $10 per person in 2022.

EISA Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements (billion gallons)

EPA Renewable Fuel Standard Program

(Source: EPA)

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