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Legislation & Rules


Modifications to Renewable Fuel Standard Program, May 10, 2010 Federal Register, Final Rule - Amends the March 26, 2010 final rule to correct technical errors and clarify existing definitions.  The rule includes a new definition for "foreign ethanol producers" and includes a modified definition of naphtha to indicate that it must be a blend stock or fuel blending component.  The rule also requires all renewable fuel producers to include information on their facility baseline volumes.  In addition, it clarifies that both domestic and foreign facilities are required to conduct a third-party engineering review by a professional chemical engineer (or foreign equivalent).  The effective date is July 1, 2010.


Changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, March 26, 2010 Federal Register, Final Rule -  Establishes volume standards for specific categories of renewable fuels including cellulosic, biomass-based diesel, and advanced biofuels.  The rule also sets annual requirements for the total amount of renewable that must be used in transportation fuel.  For 2010, the RFS volume is 12.95 billion gallons.  The effective date is July 1, 2010.


Modifications to Renewable Fuel Standard Program, June 24, 2009 Federal Register, Final Rule -  Amends the RFS program to clarify the process for separating Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).  Specifically, the rule invalidates the use of all duplicate RINs.  The rule also states that unless a party was previously granted a "small refinery/refiner" exemption, it may only separate the RINs for neat renewable fuel that has been designated as motor vehicle fuel.  The effective date is August 24, 2009.


40 CFR 80 Prescribes regulations for the control and/or prohibition of fuels and additives for use in motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines. It also establishes a credit and trading system, compliance mechanisms, and record keeping and reporting requirements.


Energy Policy Act of 2005, Title XV: Ethanol & Motor Fuels, Subtitle A: General Provisions, § 1501 Renewable Content & Gasoline, August 8, 2005  This policy creates the Renewable Fuels Program within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gives EPA the authority to establish regulations to “ensure that gasoline…in the United States on an annual average basis, contain the applicable volume of renewable fuel.”  The legislation set renewable fuel volume requirements (measured in gallons) as follows:


Updates, Comments & Other Reports


August 2012  On August 1, a bipartisan group of 156 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to EPA asking it to use its power to temporarily relax or lift the RFS ethanol requirements for 2012.  Drought conditions in the Midwest and elevated concerns over corn prices from the food producing industries have prompted Congress to petition EPA for this waiver. The 2012 mandate for corn-derived ethanol is 13.2 billion gallons, which could easily consume more than 40 percent of this year’s corn crop.  The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that 48 percent of the U.S. corn crop had been rated poor to very poor.  Corn future prices for December delivery also reached a record high of $8.205 per bushel on July 31.  In mid-July, EPA had indicated that it was not considering a waiver because it believed the corn supply to still be sufficient.


January 2012 The 2012 RFS mandates the use of 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels, approximately 1.25 billion more gallons of renewable fuels than in the prior year.  The standard includes a mandate for 8.5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol, approximately a 31 percent increase from the prior year.  To date, not a single commercial-scale plant is operational.  Moreover, there has not been a single gallon of qualifying fuel produced anywhere in the world.  Nevertheless, EPA seems to be pursuing an enforcement policy that would penalize refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel for failing to use a fuel that doesn’t exist by requiring them to purchase "cellulosic biofuel waiver credits" for 2010 and 2011.


July 2011 EPA has issued a new regulation that establishes labeling standards for E15 fuel dispensers for retail stations that choose to sell the product.  The rule also requires additional language in all gasoline product transfer documents (PTDs), or bills of lading, starting on November 1, 2011.  For additional information, click here. 


March 2011 EPA has issued two decisions granting partial waivers to allow gasoline or model 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles to be blended with greater than 10 percent and up to 15 percent ethanol.  For additional information, click here


December 2010 EPA has finalized the 2011 percentage standards for the four categories of fuel under the agency’s RFS program.  Based on an analysis of expected market availability, EPA is finalizing a lower 2011 cellulosic volume than the statutory target of xx, as mandated under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The final 2011 overall volume requirements and percentage standards are listed below.  For additional information, please visit the RFS website.


Fuel Type

Volume Requirement

Percentage Standard

Cellulosic Biofuel

6.6 million gallons


Biomass-Based Diesel

800 million gallons


Advanced Biofuel

1.35 billion gallons


Renewable Fuel

13.95 billion gallons



October 2010 On October 13, EPA partially approved a petition to increase the ethanol blend limit in fuel for use in certain motor vehicles from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15).  Under the decision, E15 blends may now be sold and distributed for use in model year 2007 and newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles.  Blends higher than E10, however, may not be used in motorcycles, heavy-duty engines, off-road vehicles and equipment, and model year 2000 and older vehicles.  EPA has deferred its decision on model year 2001-2006 until further testing is completed.  EPA also stipulated two additional conditions to maintain fuel quality for blended gasoline: E15 must meet ASTM international standards for ethanol; and it must also have a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of no more than 9.0 pounds per square inch.


2008 Updates, Comments & Other Reports


2007 Updates, Comments & Other Reports


Related ILTA Articles

ILTA provides a monthly newsletter to its membership. Members may log in to the Member Resources page to access archived newsletters. The following is a list of articles ILTA has published in its newsletter relating to Alternative Fuels.

  • Industry Groups Sue EPA Over Cellulosic Biofuel Mandate, July 2012 Issue (p.5)

  • E15 Engine Test Results in Mechanical Damage in Some 2001-2009 Vehicles, June 2012 Issue (p.2)

  • EPA Approves First Applications for E15 Registration, But Market Barriers Remain, May 2012 Issue (p.5)

  • 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard and the Unrealistic Cellulosic Mandate, January 2012 (p.3)

  • EPA Requires New PTD Language for Loading Gasoline at Terminals, November 2011 (p.3)

  • Chasing Rainbows in Search of Cellulosic Biofuels, August 2011 (p.4)

  • EPA Issues Final Rule on Measures Aimed at Mitigating Misfueling from Use of E15, August 2011 (p.2)

  • A Deeper Look at Corn Ethanol Policy Economics, July 2011 (p.7)

  • Chasing Rainbows in Search of Cellulosic Biofuels, August 2011 (p.2)

  • Industry Appeals EPA's Second E15 Decision; Commercial E15 Remains Illegal, April 2011 (p.2)

  • EPA Allows Use of E15 in More Motor Vehicles, February 2011 (p.4)

  • Cellulosic Biofuels: A Regulatory Paradox, January 2011 Issue (p.4)

2005-2010 Articles


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