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NACS Prepares to File Comments with EPA on 2018 RVOs

EPA has used its waiver authority to lower the levels for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuels and conventional biofuels.
August 7, 2017

​WASHINGTON – With only three and a half weeks left until the deadline for submission of public comments regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed 2018 renewable volume obligations (RVOs), NACS is calling on members to reach out with any concerns or thoughts about the proposed levels. As NACS previously reported, EPA used its waiver authority to lower the levels for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuels, and conventional biofuels. Levels for biomass-based diesel generally remained steady.

A table showing EPA’s proposed RVOs and percentage standards for 2018 is below. The prior 2015, 2016, and 2017 final volumes and percentage standards are also listed for reference (the previously finalized volumes/percentages are shaded, with newly proposed volumes/percentages are not shaded).

Volumes Used to Determine the Proposed Percentage Standards
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Cellulosic biofuel 123 mill gal 230 mill gal 311 mill gal 238 mill gal n/a
Biomass-based diesel 1.73 bill gal 1.90 bill gal 2.0 bill gal 2.1 bill gal 2.1 bill gal
Advanced biofuel 2.88 bill gal 3.61 bill gal 4.28 bill gal 4.24 bill gal n/a
Total renewable fuels 16.93 bill gal 18.11 bill gal 19.28 bill gal 19.24 bill gal n/a

All volumes are ethanol-equivalent, except for biomass-based diesel which is actual.

Proposed Percentage Standards
2015 2016 2017 2018
Cellulosic biofuel 0.069% 0.128% 0.173% 0.131%
Biomass-based diesel 1.49% 1.59% 1.67% 1.74%
Advanced biofuel 1.62% 2.01% 2.38% 2.34%
Total renewable fuels 9.52% 10.10% 10.70% 10.62%

EPA is soliciting comments on a variety of issues, including general comments on the RVOs, whether EPA should use its general waiver authority, and concerns regarding the RIN market, among other topics. Comments on the 2018 proposed RVOs are due August 31. NACS counsel has prepared a memorandum analyzing the EPA’s proposed 2018 RVOs available to NACS members.

As members consider EPA’s 2018 RVO proposal, NACS counsel have also prepared a memorandum on a recent court case that dealt with the 2016 RVOs. On July 28, in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA, a federal court found that EPA improperly used its waiver authority to lower 2016 RVOs by using both supply and demand-side factors to determine that there was an “inadequate domestic supply” of biofuels. In the opinion, the court said that EPA may not “consider the volume of renewable fuel that is available to ultimate consumers or the demand-side constraints that affect the consumption of renewable fuel by consumers.”

NACS members are encouraged to reach out to Paige Anderson, Director of Government Relations, to share thoughts on the proposed rule.