ALEXANDRIA, Va.—This year could be the most transformative year for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, reports Reuters.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which administers the program, the RFS was created by Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. The program mandates certain volumes of renewable fuels to replace or reduce petroleum-based fuels, and the RFS is being looked at by the Biden Administration.
Each year under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must calculate and promulgate Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) that ensure the program’s requirements are met in the upcoming year. The deadline each year is Nov. 30. In December, the EPA proposed a rule change that would extend the deadlines for oil refiners to meet the 2020 and 2021 biofuel blending requirements.
This year, the next phase for the program will be decided by the EPA, along with the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture. The EPA plans to propose requirements beginning in 2023 in May, with a final rule to come in December.
Several factors could come into play on how the Biden Administration approaches the finalization of its proposals, according to Reuters. With oil and gas prices at record highs last year and expected this year, the administration is wary of hindering production of oil and petroleum-based fuel supplies.
However, there have been aggressive goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fight climate change by the administration, and it may use the RFS as a key tool in its climate change agenda by incentivizing production of renewable fuels.
Reuters also reports that the EPA is considering making electric vehicle power generation eligible for renewable fuel credits, and the move could boost the U.S. electric vehicle industry.
There is speculation that the RFS will be less focused around corn-based ethanol and instead around advanced biofuels such as renewable diesel, made from plant oils or animal fats.