EPA Raises Renewable Fuel Target

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This news item gives dealers an idea of the push toward getting more ethanol—and renewable fuels in general—into America’s transportation fuel system. As many industry officials have said, more ethanol and new blends are eventually coming to a fuel tank near you, and it’s up to manufacturers and dealers to adapt and develop strategies to turn the issue in their favor.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised the 2009 Renewable Fuel Standard to 10.21% to ensure that at least 11.1 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended into transportation gasoline. This standard is used by obligated parties—refiners, importers and blenders (other than oxygen blenders)—to calculate their renewable volume obligation. The EPA expects the 11.1 billion gallons of renewable fuel required in 2009 ultimately to include approximately 0.5 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel.

The 2009 standard marks a 23.3% increase by volume of the 2008 RFS of 9 billion gallons, but a 31.6% increase by percentage volume from 7.76% in 2008. The larger relative increase is due to expectations of lower fuel consumption in 2009.

The EPA expects 138.47 billion gallons of gasoline blends will be sold in 2009 in the 48 contiguous states plus Hawaii, down from the 144.5 billion gallons EPA expected to be sold this year—a 4.2% decrease.

Some of the major changes enacted in RFS2 include: