Renewable Fuel Standards Increased and Extended by Energy Act
January 2, 2008
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed into law on December 19th, boosts the requirements for renewable fuel use to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The act requires "advanced biofuels"—defined as fuels that cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%—to provide 21 billion gallons of fuel by 2022, or about 60% of the total requirement. Such advanced biofuels could include ethanol derived from cellulosic biomass—such as wood waste, grasses, and agricultural wastes—as well as biodiesel, butanol, and other fuels. Previously, a national Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) set by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 required 4.7 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2007, which would have increased to 5.4 billion gallons in 2008 and to 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.
The new RFS requires 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2008, increasing steadily to 15.2 billion gallons in 2012 and to 36 billion gallons in 2022. The act requires advanced biofuels to contribute 0.6 billion gallons in 2009 and steadily accelerates their contribution into the future, reaching 2 billion gallons in 2012, 5.5 billion gallons in 2015, 11 billion gallons in 2018, 15 billion gallons in 2020, and 21 billion gallons in 2022. Of that total, cellulosic biofuels must contribute at least 0.1 billion gallons in 2010, accelerating to 10 billion gallons in 2020 and 16 billion gallons in 2022. In addition, biodiesel must contribute 0.5 billion gallons in 2009, increasing to 1 billion gallons in 2012. The new act gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency one year to revise the RFS regulations to include the new standards. See Title II of the new energy act on the Library of Congress Web site, and for comparison, see the Renewable Fuel Association's summary of the previous standard.
Title II of the energy act also prohibits petroleum companies from restricting the sale of alternative fuels under new franchise agreements, a provision that could allow gas station owners to install more pumps for E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. The act also requires labeling diesel fuel pumps with their biodiesel content. For federal fleets, the act requires at least one renewable fuel pump at each fueling center, with few exceptions. The act also calls for a host of studies on biofuel infrastructure and delivery issues, and creates grant programs and research programs for biofuels that will depend on future appropriations.