EPA finalizes regulations implementing renewable fuel program


The Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule May 1 implementing a renewable fuel program that specifies the total volume of renewable fuel, such as ethanol and biodiesel, that must be used in fuels sold in the United States each year, with the total volume increasing over time.

The goals of the program is to reduce dependence on foreign sources of petroleum, increase domestic sources of energy and help transition to alternatives to petroleum in the transportation sector. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires that the equivalent of at least 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into motor vehicle fuel sold in the United States by 2012.

The program is estimated to cut petroleum use by up to 3.9 billion gallons and cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 13.1 million metric tons by 2012. EPA says the RFS is an important first step toward meeting President Bush’s call on our nation to reduce gasoline use by 20 percent within 10 years.

The regulations also establish a trading program that will allow renewable fuels to be used where they are most economical while providing a flexible means for obligated parties to comply with the standard. The final rule takes effect Sept. 1.