NATSO met with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget Nov. 15 to discuss the forthcoming final rule outlining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations for 2017.
2) EPA faces a delicate balance with respect to biomass-based diesel: On the one hand, increasing mandates under the RFS can enable NATSO members to sell biodiesel and renewable diesel to consumers at lower prices and thereby increase consumer demand for these products; at the same time, if obligations are set too high, prices for diesel fuel could potentially rise, which would have an adverse effect on NATSO members and the U.S. economy as a whole.
3) EPA was correct when it recently proposed to reject the idea of revising the definition of “obligated party” under the RFS. Refiners and importers are obligated parties because that is the only way to ensure that renewable fuels are integrated into the nation’s fuel supply. If fuel blenders and retailers rather than refiners and importers were obligated parties, the RFS’s objectives would not be achieved.
Under the RFS, EPA annually establishes renewable volume obligations ("RVOs") that refiners and importers are responsible for generating each year. The RFS program specifies four separate categories of renewable fuels, each with a separate volume mandate: (i) total renewable fuel (generally corn ethanol); (ii) advanced biofuel (including Brazilian sugar cane ethanol); (iii) biomass-based diesel (including biodiesel and renewable diesel); and (iv) cellulosic biofuel.
EPA is expected to release its 2017 RVOs in the coming days, no later than Nov. 30. This rulemaking will include the 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel; the 2017 biomass-based diesel RVO was established last year.
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