This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 06, 2011

EPA Proposes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed on June 21 the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency's Renewable Fuel Standard program, referred to as RFS2. Based on analysis of market availability, the EPA is proposing a 2012 cellulosic biofuels volume that is lower than the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) target of 500 million gallons. EPA will continue to evaluate the market as it works to finalize the cellulosic standard in the coming months. The agency remains optimistic that the commercial availability of cellulosic biofuel will continue to grow in the years ahead.

The proposed 2012 overall volumes and standards are: 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, or 0.91% of the U.S. on-road fuel supply; 2 billion gallons of advanced biofuels (1.21%); and 3.45 to 12.9 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels (0.002% to 0.010%). Based on this standard, each refiner, importer, and non-oxygenate blender of gasoline or diesel fuel determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel. Under the proposal, the total volume of renewable fuels would be 15.2 billion gallons, or 9.21% of the nation's on-road fuel supply. In addition, the EPA is proposing a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013. EISA specifies a one billion gallon minimum volume requirement for that category for 2013 and beyond, but enables the EPA to increase the volume requirement after consideration of a variety of environmental, market, and energy-related factors.

Overall, the EPA's RFS2 program encourages greater use of renewable fuels, including advanced biofuels. For 2012, the program is proposing to implement the EISA requirement to blend more than 1.25 billion gallons of renewable fuels greater than the amount mandated for 2011. The EISA established the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, the EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year, based on the projected national levels of fuel consumption. Comments on the proposed standards are due by August 11. See the EPA press release, the Federal Register noticePDF of a July 12 hearing on the proposed rule, and the EPA Fuel Standards Web page.