The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a great American success story. It has helped provide consumers with real choice and savings at the pump while strengthening our economy, delivering greater energy independence, and improving our environment.

The RFS has broad, bipartisan support in Congress, and has injected much-needed competition into the market, ensuring that homegrown fuels can reach consumers at the gas pump since its authorization under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expansion under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Efforts to repeal or change the RFS would undermine that progress, make the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil, and increase gas prices. Moreover, it is vital that the Environmental Protection Agency continue to meet the statutory biofuel targets set by Congress for annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), ensuring that America remains a global leader in renewable energy.

Growth Energy’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Chris Bliley, testified during the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) public hearing for the proposed rule, “Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019” on August 1, 2017.

Growth Energy’s comments submitted to the EPA on August 31 focused on a number of policies that will ensure the continued progress of starch and cellulosic biofuels under the RFS.

  1. Maintaining the 15-billion-gallon total for conventional biofuels to maintain U.S. energy security and independence
  2. Pushing forward and increasing the cellulosic biofuel volumes to 377 million gallons
  3. Revising the cellulosic waiver credit program to ensure that the volumes being produced are being used in the transportation fuel system
  4. Taking actions to mitigate manipulation in the RIN market

Point of Obligation

The RFS has worked for over 11 years to ensure that oil companies can’t lock biofuels out of the market, but some oil interests seek to undermine the policy and eliminate competition at U.S. gas stations.

Recently, some refiners have sought to rewrite a key element of the RFS – the point of obligation. Under this proposal, the responsibility of complying with the vision the goals of the RFS would shift from refiners and importers to downstream players such as fuel retailers. The change would impose a major regulatory burden on hundreds – if not thousands – of fuel retailers and distributors, leading to higher consumer costs and fewer renewable options at the pump.

In February 2017, Growth Energy released an expert economic analysis that identified numerous problems associated with changing the RFS point of obligation. This analysis was part of the association’s comments to EPA highlighting how a shift in point of obligation would be detrimental to growing the renewable fuels marketplace and would ultimately undermine an energy policy that has cut oil imports and reduced transportation-related emissions.

Benefits of the RFS

 

Create jobs and grow the U.S. economy

Thanks to the RFS, ethanol is now blended into 97 percent of our fuel supply, and production of homegrown biofuels supports economic growth across the heartland. In fact, America is a global leader in ethanol production, an industry that supports over 300,000 U.S. jobs and drives nearly $41.2 billion in economic activity.

 

Protect the environment & our air

Ethanol is an earth-friendly biofuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 43 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and this percentage continues to increase with ongoing innovations in technology. Ethanol also protects our health by displacing toxic chemicals in gasoline associated with groundwater contamination, smog, asthma, and cancer.

 

Increase America’s energy security

By providing an affordable alternative for foreign oil, ethanol helps to hold down prices and shields U.S. drivers against efforts by hostile nations to manipulate global energy prices. In fact, ethanol now meets more than 10 percent of our motor fuel needs and has helped America cut our dependence on oil imports in half since 2005, when the RFS was first enacted.

 

Expand fuel options for U.S. drivers

The RFS creates competition at the pump, ensuring that consumers have cleaner, more affordable options when fueling up. As a result, U.S. drivers save money on fuel – as much as $1.50 per gallon during the last spike in global oil prices. Consumers also appreciate that higher biofuel blends can deliver more octane for better performance and help to reduce toxic emissions in the air.

 

Drive investments in research and development

The RFS also stimulates investment in second-generation biofuels that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent or more over gasoline. This technology creates value from the waste portion of crops left in the field, while displacing even more carcinogens in gasoline.

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Growth Energy press statement: EPA Decision to Keep Point of Obligation Unchanged Protects Consumer Choice - read m… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

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