This August marks the tenth anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard, and there’s a lot to celebrate. But before we celebrate, a little history lesson about the RFS program:
The RFS regulations were developed by a combination of dedicated refiners, renewable fuel producers, and other stakeholders in order to establish the first renewable fuel volume mandate for the United States. It was established in 2005 under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct), then expanded in 2007 under the Energy Independence and Security Act. The original RFS program required 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into gasoline by 2012. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS program was expanded in order to establish a more aggressive push for renewable energy. As explained by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) themselves, the expansion of the program did the following:
– It expanded the RFS program to include diesel, in addition to gasoline;
– It increased the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022;
– It established new categories of renewable fuel and set separate volume requirements for each one; and
– It required the EPA to apply lifecycle greenhouse gas performance threshold standards to ensure that each category of renewable fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than the petroleum fuel it replaces.
Since the RFS first came about in 2005, the biodiesel market has grown from just over 100 million gallons to nearly 1.8 billion gallons in 2015. Not only has the program continued to meet RFS volume standards set by EPA, but it often exceeds them.
The biodiesel industry has a lot to be proud of over the past decade. Our collective efforts have helped to reduce harmful emissions and to diversifying the fuel supply with American-made, renewable products. 8.2 billion gallons of biodiesel have replaced petroleum since 2004, cutting 75.5 million metric tons of carbon pollution. To put that number into perspective a little, that’s equivalent to taking roughly 15.9 million cars off the road, planting 1.9 billion carbon-absorbing trees, or preserving 61.9 million acres of mature forests. In other words: it’s really good.
As new research and technological innovations help us improve efficiency and sustainability, the industry will continue improving air quality and expanding our fuel supply in better ways than ever before.
If that isn’t enough to excite you about biodiesel, take a look at this great video the United Soybean Board made.