The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) aims to steadily grow biofuels for use in the nation’s fuel supply for 2023, 2024, and 2025.
This aims to build on the strong foundation for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) programme started in the Biden-Harris Administration.
The RFS “set” proposal requests public input on required volumes of biofuel for the next one to three years and on a series of important modifications to strengthen and expand the programme.
“The Renewable Fuel Standard programme is critical to helping incorporate more homegrown biofuels into the market,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
“This proposal supports low-carbon renewable fuels and seeks public input on ways to strengthen the program. With this proposal, EPA seeks to provide consumers with more options while diversifying our nation’s energy mix.
“EPA is also focused on strengthening the economics of our critical energy infrastructure, needed to maintain and boost our energy security. We’re eager to continue the dialogue on how biofuels can bolster U.S. energy security, protect consumers from high fuel costs, strengthen the rural economy, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
This is the first time that EPA is setting these proposed biofuel volume targets without using those outlined in statute.
When setting 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, and water quality and supply.
The agency is seeking comment on the proposed volumes and how to appropriately balance these factors so that the programme works for renewable fuel growers and producers, refiners and the union workers who operate these facilities, and fuel consumers.
As this rule is an opportunity to take a fresh look at many aspects of the programme, the EPA is also seeking comment on how this rule can intersect with continued viability of domestic oil refining assets, including merchant refineries, how best to support novel fuels like sustainable aviation fuels and clean hydrogen, and how to account for the new and updated incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.
This proposed rule would increase US energy security by reducing oil imports by roughly 160,000 to 180,000 barrels of oil per year over the time frame of the proposed rule, 2023 to 2025.
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