EPA Finalizes 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the 2013 percentage standards for several fuel categories that are part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program established by Congress.

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% blend). This standard specifically requires the following:

– Biomass-based diesel (1.28 billion gallons; 1.13%);

– Advanced biofuels (2.75 billion gallons; 1.62%); and

– Cellulosic biofuels (6.00 million gallons; 0.004%).

The EPA says it is providing greater lead time and flexibility in complying with the 2013 volume requirements by extending the deadline to comply with the standards by four months, to June 30, 2014.

The EPA also notes that these standards reflect its updated production projections, which are informed by engagement with industry and a thorough assessment of the biofuels market.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has welcomed the release of the final rule.

“This is a pivotal year for cellulosic and advanced biofuels,” says Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO's industrial and environmental section, in a statement. “Following years of research and development and millions of dollars in investment, the first companies are right now commissioning biorefineries and producing commercial volumes of cellulosic fuel for American drivers. Additional companies have new facilities under construction, with expected start-up over the next few years.”

“The visible progress of the industry is proof that the Renewable Fuel Standard works,” he adds.

However, Erickson cautions that the EPA will likely continue to face opposition regarding the RFS. “BIO urges EPA to continue to stand firm against outside legal and political challenges to undermine the RFS.”

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