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Final Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015 and 2016

On Nov. 30 EPA announced its volume determinations under the RFS for 2014-2016. While the volumes are greater than those previously proposed, they are lower than the mandated volumes which were waived. The mandated renewable fuel volume requirement for 2016 would have been 22.25 billion gallons without the waiver, and it is now 18.11 billion gallons. The final 2016 standard for advanced biofuel is nearly 1 billion gallons, or 35%, higher than the actual 2014 volumes, while the total renewable standard requires growth from 2014 to 2016 of over 1.8 billion gallons of biofuel, or 11% higher than 2014 actual volumes. Biodiesel standards grow steadily over the next several years, increasing every year to reach 2 billion gallons by 2017.

EPA noted in the rule summary: Our decision to finalize volumes for total renewable fuel that rely on exercising the general waiver authority is based on the same fundamental reasoning we relied upon in the June 10, 2015 proposal. Despite significant increases in renewable fuel use in the United States, real -world constraints, such as the slower than expected development of the cellulosic biofuel industry and constraints in the marketplace needed to supply certain biofuels to consumers, have made the timeline laid out by Congress impossible to achieve. These challenges remain, even as we recognize the success of the RFS program over the past decade in boosting renewable fuel use, and the recent signs of progress towards development of increasing volumes of advanced, low GHG-emitting fuels, including cellulosic biofuels.

We believe that the RFS program can and will drive renewable fuel use and, indeed, we have considered the ability of the market to respond to the standards we set when we assessed the amount of renewable fuel that can be supplied. Therefore, while this final rule applies the tools Congress provided to make adjustments to the statutory volume targets in recognition of the constraints that exist today, we believe the standards we are finalizing today will drive growth in renewable fuels, particularly advanced biofuels which achieve the lowest lifecycle GHG emissions.

The full PDF of the EPA rule can be found here: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-11/documents/rfs-2014-2015-2016-annual-rule-frm.pdf

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