The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on January 31 proposed the required quantities for the various categories for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2013.  A Federal Register notice is to be published shortly with a 45-day comment period.  For total renewable fuels, EPA is proposing 16.55 billion gallons; for advanced biofuels, the proposal is 2.75-billion gallons; for biomass-based diesel, the quantity is 1.28-billion gallons; and for cellulosic biofuels, it is 14-million gallons. The 2013 RFS for corn-based ethanol is 13.8 billion gallons.  For 2013, EPA is proposing to implement the requirement of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to blend more than 1.35-billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2012.

EPA’s proposal would require 14 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2013 despite a recent court decision sharply criticizing the agency for consistently overestimating cellulosic ethanol production.  EPA intends to increase the cellulosic ethanol requirement by more than 60 percent from 2012 levels despite the federal appeals court decision.  The EPA notice is available here.

The Renewal Fuels Association (RFA) said EPA’s requirements for 2013 will necessitate the use of more E15, E85, and other higher levels of blends because E10 has hit the “blend wall.”  RFA also said it is concerned that imported advanced biofuel (Brazilian sugar cane-based ethanol) accounted for 92 percent of the 2012 advanced biofuel standard.

Regarding a Renewable Fuel Information Number (RIN) issue, EPA is proposing a voluntary quality assurance program that would establish auditing criteria to verify the validity of RINs under the renewable fuel standard. Petroleum refiners would be able to choose between two verification options with varying replacement liabilities or opt to purchase unverified RINs. EPA will hold a public hearing on its proposal March 19 in Washington, DC.  The Renewable Fuel Information Number notice is available here.  As a result of the shortfall in the supply of cellulosic-based ethanol, refiners have to buy waiver credits from the EPA at a cost of 78 cents per gallon.