The EPA this week announced its proposed rule for 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumetric requirements. The proposal waives the cellulosic biofuel requirement from one billion gallons to 14 million gallons, but retains overall advanced biofuel and renewable fuel requirements. The proposed standards will be open for a 45-day public comment period before EPA finalizes the rules (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/documents/rfs-2013-standards-nrpm.pdf).
“The 2013 RFS requirements will be the catalyst that finally compels oil companies to get serious about breaching the so-called blend wall. This year’s RFS requirements will necessitate the use of more E15, E85 and other higher-level blends,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). “Injecting larger volumes of biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply and spurring a more rapid transition to domestically produced renewables is exactly what the RFS was intended to do.”
Dinneen added, “The proposed standard in no way exaggerates the volumes that will be available in 2013 based on current information, and may ultimately prove to be conservative. Cellulosic ethanol is being produced today at commercial scale in Florida, and with construction nearing completion at several other commercial sites, we fully expect 2013 to be the breakthrough year for cellulosic ethanol. At the same time, the fact that EPA waived 98.6 percent of the statutory cellulosic biofuel standard demonstrates the extraordinary flexibility and adaptability of the RFS program.”
“We are disturbed that EPA is mandating 14 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol when zero gallons are available for compliance as of today,” said Charles Drevna, president, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). “In addition, we are surprised that EPA has not chosen to adequately consider a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia's decision to vacate the agency's 2012 cellulosic biofuel mandate. EPA has been working on this rule for a very long time so we are skeptical that the Agency could re-evaluate the program in less than a week so that the proposed standards would comport with the Court's decision,” Drevna added.