US EPA establishes RFS program requirements

The US government announced a requirement for refiners, blenders, and importers to increasingly use renewable fuels from 2007 through 2012.

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 10 -- The US government announced a requirement for refiners, blenders, and importers to increasingly use renewable fuels from 2007 through 2012. Officials portrayed the renewable fuels standard (RFS), which was authorized under the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT), as an important step toward meeting US President George W. Bush's goal of reducing domestic gasoline use by 20% within 10 years.

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, US Department of Energy Sec. Samuel W. Bodman, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Chief Nicole R. Nason told reporters that the RFS would help domestic renewable and alternative transportation fuel use climb to 35 billion gal/year by 2017.

For 2007, the RFS establishes a renewable fuel share of 4.02%, or roughly 4.7 billion gal, of the total motor fuel consumed in the US. By 2012, the equivalent of at least 7.5 billion gal will be required as part of the US motor fuel mix.

Officials said that the program will promote the use of ethanol, biodiesel, and other petroleum alternatives as it establishes special incentives to produce and use motor fuels produced from switch grass, wood chips, and other cellulosic biomass. It also will use a trading system to give fuel producers flexibility in using the most economical alternatives, they added.

An RFS standard is only the first step, according to Nason. "We must also continue to improve the efficiency of our passenger cars and light trucks. As a part of the president's '20-in-10' energy security plan, we need Congress to give the secretary of transportation authority to reform the current passenger car fuel economy standard," she said.

Charles T. Drevna, vice-president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, said EPA has issued a reasonable framework to implement EPACT's renewable fuel provisions. "NPRA believes that the RFS credit program—the core of the program—must be understandable, allow unambiguous enforcement, and promote adequate flexibility for refiners and gasoline importers," he said.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

More in General Interest