EPA Releases Final Rule Setting Biofuels Growth from 2023 to 2025
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On June 21, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program that will establish the biofuel volume requirements from 2023 to 2025. According to EPA, the final rule “builds on the RFS program’s progress over the previous two years and reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthen the nation’s energy independence, advance low-carbon fuels, and support agricultural communities.” EPA states that the final rule strengthens U.S. energy security by reducing reliance on foreign sources of oil by roughly 130,000 to 140,000 barrels of oil per day over the time frame of the final rule, 2023-2025. The final rule also discusses EPA’s intent to monitor the ongoing implementation of the RFS program and its impacts on domestic refineries, “which have a critical role to play in our energy security.”
The final rule will establish the biofuel volume requirements and associated percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel (BBD), advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2023-2025. EPA notes that the final rule also completes its response to a court remand of the 2016 annual rule by establishing a supplemental volume requirement of 250 million gallons of renewable fuel for 2023. The final volume targets (billion Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN)) are as follows:
a BBD is given in billion gallons.
According to EPA, the final rule includes steady growth of biofuels for use in the nation’s fuel supply for 2023, 2024, and 2025. EPA notes that the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 does not specify statutory volumes after 2022, and EPA in this rule will establish final biofuel volume targets for all categories under the “set” authority provided by the Clean Air Act. When determining biofuel volumes for years after 2022, EPA states that it must consider a variety of factors specified in the statute, including costs, air quality, climate change, implementation of the program to date, energy security, infrastructure issues, commodity prices, water quality, and supply.
In addition to setting the volume requirements, EPA will make several regulatory changes intended to expand the use of biogas under the program while, at the same time, putting in place provisions that will improve the operation of the RFS program.