The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed for public comment the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel as required by Congress under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. 

Developed with input from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture, the proposal seeks public input on annual volume requirements for renewable fuels in all motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported by the United States in 2014. 

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According to the EPA, the proposal aims to put the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program on a steady path forward, while seeking input on different approaches to address the “E10 blend wall.”

Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. is now “E10,” which is fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. Production of renewable fuels has been growing rapidly in recent years. At the same time, advances in vehicle fuel economy and other economic factors have pushed gasoline consumption far lower than what was expected when Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007. 

As a result, we are now at the “E10 blend wall,” the point at which the E10 fuel pool is saturated with ethanol. If gasoline demand continues to decline, as currently forecast, continuing growth in the use of ethanol will require greater use of higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85. 

“Biofuels are a key part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution, and create jobs,” said EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy. “We have made great progress in recent years, and EPA continues to support the RFS goal of increasing biofuel production and use. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to develop a final rule that maintains the strength and promise of the RFS program.”

The proposal discusses a variety of approaches for setting the 2014 standards, and includes a number of production and consumption ranges for key categories of biofuel covered by the RFS program.

The proposal seeks comment on a range of total renewable fuel volumes for 2014 and proposes a level within that range of 15.21 billion gallons. Specifically, EPA is seeking comment on the following proposed volumes:

 

Category

Proposed Volume a

Range

Cellulosic biofuel

17 mill gal

8-30 million gallons

Biomass-based diesel

1.28 bill gal

1.28 billion gallons

Advanced biofuel

2.20 bill gal

2.0-2.51 billion gallons

Renewable fuel

15.21 bill gal

15.00-15.52 billion gallons

aAll volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel which is actual