WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Agency issued a final rule on June 21 under the Renewable Fuel Standard that establishes the biofuel requirements for 2023 to 2025.
The final rule sets a total renewable fuel target of 20.94 billion gallons in 2023, 21.54 billion in 2024 and 22.33 billion in 2025.
“This final rule increases U.S. energy security by reducing U.S. oil imports by roughly 130,000 to 140,000 barrels of oil per day over the time frame of the final rule, 2023-2025. The anticipated value of the energy security benefits to the U.S. economy ranges from $173-$192 million per year over the time frame of the final rule,” according to the EPA.
“The final rule also discusses EPA’s intent to monitor the ongoing implementation of the RFS program and its impacts on domestic refineries, which have a critical role to play in our energy security.”
“From day one, EPA has been committed to the growth of renewable fuels that play a critical role in diversifying our country’s energy mix and combating climate change, all while providing good paying jobs and economic benefits to communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
“This final rule reflects our efforts to ensure stability of the program for years to come, protect consumers from high fuel costs, strengthen the rural economy, support domestic production of cleaner fuels and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Set Rule establishes the biofuel volume requirements and associated percentage standards for corn-based ethanol, cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel for 2023 to 2025.
It also completes EPA’s response to a court remand of the 2016 annual rule by establishing a supplemental volume requirement of 250 million gallons of renewable fuel for 2023.
Cellulosic ethanol is produced from cellulose, the stringy fiber of a plant. It can be produced from grasses, wood, algae or other plants.
Biomass-based diesel fuel is produced from soybean oil, vegetable oils, animal fat, other products.
Advanced biofuels are liquid fuels that are generally derived from biomass, including woody crops, agricultural residue or waste, as well as non-food energy crops grown on marginal land unsuitable for food production.
The final volume targets are as follows:
|Volume Targets (billion gallons)||2023||2024||2025|
|Conventional renewable biofuel (corn-based ethanol)||15||15||15|
In December, EPA proposed conventional renewable biofuels mandates of 15.25 billion gallons for 2023 to 2025. Total renewable fuels were proposed at 20.82 billion gallons for 2023, 21.87 billion gallons for 2024 and 22.68 billion gallons for 2025.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 does not specify statutory volumes after 2022, and EPA in this rule is establishing final biofuel volume targets for all categories under the “set” authority provided by the Clean Air Act.
“When determining biofuel volumes for years after 2022, EPA must consider a variety of factors specified in the statute, including costs, air quality, climate change, implementation of the program to date, energy security, infrastructure issues, commodity prices, water quality and supply,” according to the EPA.
In addition to setting the volume requirements, EPA is finalizing several regulatory changes intended to expand the use of biogas under the program while, at the same time, putting in place provisions that will improve the operation of the RFS program.
“The final rule follows a robust engagement strategy and reflects comments from a diverse set of stakeholders on the potential economic impacts of the program. EPA is committed to successful implementation of the program and intends to use all available data and tools to monitor the implementation of the RFS program and its impacts,” the EPA stated.
For example, EPA will within 45 days meet with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to make sure existing agreements between EPA and CFTC are sufficient to monitor renewable identification numbers trades for potential market manipulation.
In addition, EPA has identified a clear set of market indicators — from the costs to consumers of transportation fuel to the stability of fuel supplies and domestic refining assets — that it will continue to monitor in real time to ensure successful implementation.
EPA continues to assess the comments received on proposed regulations governing the generation of RINs, which are RFS compliance credits, for electricity made from renewable biomass that is used for transportation fuel, eRINs.
The EPA stated it will continue to work on potential paths forward for the eRIN program, while further reviewing the comments received on the proposal and seeking additional input from stakeholders to inform potential next steps on the eRIN program.