WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 8 -- The US Environmental Protection Agency Sept. 7 proposed a renewable fuel standard (RFS) that would raise the total share of renewable fuels in the US to 3.71% in 2007 from 2.78% in 2006 by doubling the use of ethanol, biodiesel, and other renewables.
The proposal, which would implement a provision of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, could potentially reduce US petroleum demand by 3.9 million gal/year and greenhouse gas emissions by 14 billion tons/year by 2012, EPA said.
The proposed RFS aims to increase the amount of renewable motor fuel used in the US to at least 7.5 billion gal in 2012 from about 4.5 billion gal in 2006. It contains compliance tools and a credit and trading system that allows renewables to be used where they're most economical, while providing industry flexibility, EPA said.
The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association said it appreciates EPA's effort to provide greater certainty about RFS operations by proposing a standard. But it questioned the wisdom of mandating proposed levels for ethanol, biodiesel, and other renewables as part of the nation's total fuel mix.
"The mandate requires that consumers pay more for renewable materials that would have been available at lower, market-based prices if no mandate existed," said NPRA Pres. Bob Slaughter. "The fact that ethanol was selling for a considerably higher price than gasoline earlier this year (despite its mileage per gallon penalty) indicates that our concerns about the unintended consequences of mandates are valid."
Slaughter said NPRA also questions EPA's GHG emissions projections under the proposal. "Experts who have studied the impact of renewables' use on greenhouse gas emissions strongly disagree on whether any reduction occurs if all factors, including crop production, are considered," he said. "The consensus on this point would appear to be that there is only a marginal reduction, if any."
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