Renewable Fuel Standard Background (RFS):
The growth of American biodiesel and renewable diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard is a tremendous success story. Our industry is delivering the vast majority of EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel under the RFS and has proven that it can grow in a sustainable way to reduce pollution, create jobs and diversify our fuel supply.
On November 23, the EPA released its final rule for RFS volumes covering Biomass-based Diesel for the 2018 calendar year and all other categories for 2017.
Under the new RFS rule, Biomass-Based Diesel standards would move to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018 up from 2 billion gallons in 2017. The Biomass-Based Diesel category – a diesel subset of the overall Advanced Biofuel category – is made up of biodiesel and renewable diesel, another diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.
Additionally the new RFS rule, would move Advanced Biofuels to 4.28 billion gallons in 2017 up from 3.61 billion gallons in 2016 with Biomass-Based Diesel continuing to fill a large portion of the Advanced Program.
The new standards reflect modest growth in the program but remain below the more than 2.6 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel expected in 2016.
While the final rule includes limited growth for biodiesel and the potential for additional biodiesel growth under the overall Advanced Biofuel category, it clearly does not fully capitalize on our industry’s potential for growth.
While NBB applauds the increased volumes, there is room for more aggressive growth. The U.S. biodiesel industry can do more. The production capacity and feedstock are clearly available as the market is already topping these levels. NBB will work with the new Administration to help them understand the benefits provided by our growing American biodiesel industry and the potential to support additional jobs and investment in rural economies.
Our Washington office is always available to help, so please don't hesitate to call us at 202-737-8801. And we encourage all stakeholders to be part of our letter writing campaign and submit a letter of support direct to your representatives in Congress here.
As you talk about the benefits of biodiesel with your Member of Congress, through OpEds and to the public, here are some general talking points to keep in mind.
Quick Talking Points
- Advanced Biofuel, Here Now: Biodiesel is the most successful EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel in the U.S, and the first to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. It is proving that Advanced Biofuels are here today, working to reduce harmful emissions, create jobs and increase our energy security by diversifying fuel supplies. Congress and the White House should continue that success with modest, sustainable growth under the RFS.
- Jobs and Economic Impact: With plants in nearly every state in the country, the biodiesel industry is supporting 64,000 U.S. jobs and $11.42 billion in total economic activity nationwide. Every 100 million gallons of biodiesel production supports roughly 3,200 jobs. Producers are ready to expand production and hire new workers with steady growth under the RFS. RFS growth also fuels research and development on new feedstocks and production technologies paving the way for the next generation of biodiesel refining.
- Reducing Harmful and Costly Emissions: According to the EPA, biodiesel reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel. With more than 10 billion gallons used through
2015, biodiesel has cut carbon pollution by 93.7 million metric tons – the same impact as removing more than 19.7 million passenger vehicles from America’s roadways. Additionally, the EPA consistently cites tailpipe emissions from traditional diesel – primarily from older trucking fleets and other heavy-duty vehicles – as a major national health hazard. Substituting higher amounts of biodiesel for traditional diesel fuel is the simplest, most effective way to immediately reduce diesel emissions.
- Improving U.S. Energy Security: The biodiesel industry is increasing domestic energy production, diversifying our fuel supplies and expanding domestic refining capacity so that we’re not so vulnerable to global oil markets and associated refining bottlenecks. This improves U.S. energy security because despite increased U.S. oil production, petroleum is a global commodity, and U.S. consumers will continue to be at the mercy of heavily manipulated global petroleum prices until we have diversity in the market. Recent decisions from OPEC to steer those markets shows the continued danger to our economy and national security from our dependence on petroleum.
- Ensuring Domestic Production Under RFS: American biodiesel is the only domestic EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel delivering significant volumes under the RFS. In fact, biodiesel in recent years has produced enough fuel to fill the vast majority of the Advanced category.
- Addressing the Diesel Market: It was always the intent of Congress that the RFS address not just the gasoline market but also the diesel pool, which fuels pivotal transportation and industrial applications such as long-haul trucks, buses, barges, and heavy machinery and which accounts for a significant share of the nation’s air pollution in the transportation sector. You simply can’t have effective renewable fuels policy without addressing the diesel market with diesel alternatives, Additionally, growing the Biomass-based Diesel pool does not contribute to the ethanol “blendwall.”
Helping Consumers at the Pump: Biodiesel is a cost-effective renewable alternative to petroleum diesel that, with help from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is saving diesel consumers money. Each gallon of RFS-qualified biodiesel is accompanied by a RIN credit. The value of that credit, which is traded on the open market, is factored into the value of each gallon of biodiesel. This added value allows producers to sell biodiesel at a lower price to fuel distributors or fleet managers, who can then pass along savings to consumers.
Feedstock Diversity: American biodiesel is one of the most diverse fuels in the world, produced using a broad mix of regionally available resources including recycled cooking oil, agricultural oils and animal fats. This has helped shape a nimble industry that is constantly searching for new technologies and feedstocks. Industry demand for new alternatives is stimulating, and often financing, research on new feedstocks such as algae and camelina.