As part of an ongoing effort to enhance energy security and reduce carbon pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program established by Congress. Most of these fuels are produced by American farmers and growers domestically and help reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change, according to the EPA.
The final 2013 overall volumes and standards require 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply (a 9.74 percent blend). This standard specifically requires:
• Biomass-based diesel (1.28 billion gallons; 1.13 percent)
• Advanced biofuels (2.75 billion gallons; 1.62 percent)
• Cellulosic biofuels (6.00 million gallons; 0.004 percent)
These standards reflect the EPA’s updated production projections, which are informed by engagement with industry and a thorough assessment of the biofuels market.
During this rulemaking, the EPA received comments from a number of stakeholders concerning the “E10 blend wall.” Projected to occur in 2014, the “E10 blend wall” refers to the difficulty in incorporating ethanol into the fuel supply at volumes exceeding those achieved by the sale of nearly all gasoline as E10. Most gasoline sold in the U.S. today is E10. In the rule, the EPA is announcing that it will propose to use flexibilities in the RFS statute to reduce both the advanced biofuel and total renewable volumes in the forthcoming 2014 RFS volume requirement proposal.
The EPA is also providing greater lead time and flexibility in complying with the 2013 volume requirements by extending the deadline to comply with the 2013 standards by four months, to June 30, 2014.