The Latest on 2020, 2021, 2022 RVOs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its proposed 2021 and 2022 biofuel blending requirements, which determine how many gallons of cleaner-burning, renewable biofuel should be blended into each year’s fuel supply.

The EPA’s current proposal: 

  • Illegally rolls back 2020 RVOs to 12.5 billion gallons,
  • Undercuts blending requirements by setting 2021 RVOs at 13.32 billion gallons for conventional ethanol,
  • Sets conventional ethanol targets for 2022 at 15 billion gallons, the statutory minimum,
  • Adds a supplemental 250 million gallons in 2022 and 250 million gallons in 2023, and,
  • Denies the 65 pending small refinery exemption requests before the agency, and provides important guidance to limit the abuse of small refinery exemptions in the future. 


EPA’s projection of strong biofuel blending requirements in 2022, commitment to halt illegal refinery exemptions, and long-awaited progress toward complying with a 2017 court order on lost gallons represent a welcome step forward.

However, we are extremely disappointed the agency has proposed rolling back requirements for 2020 and lowering volumes for 2021. This unprecedented move not only exceeds EPA’s legal authority under the RFS, it fails to recognize the law’s built-in mechanism that adjusts requirements when fuel demand differs from original projections. At face value, the EPA’s plan for 2020 gallons serves as a flagrant giveaway to petroleum companies at the expense of rural families and future investment in low-carbon energy.

We need President Biden to enforce the RFS as promised in order to build a zero-carbon future.

What are RVOs?

Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked pursuant to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with drafting a proposal to establish the minimum amount of renewable fuel that should be blended into gasoline and made available to consumers in the year ahead. These blending requirements are called Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), and they hare expressed as a percentage of renewable fuels that refiners and fuel importers must blend into motor fuel .

After a proposal is released, the agency then accepts comments from the public before issuing a final rulemaking. Once the rule is final, refiners and fuel importers utilize Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) to track each gallon of biofuel that is blended into gasoline or else bought or sold on the RIN market to demonstrate compliance with the law.

As policymakers look for clean, affordable energy options, the solution is clear: ethanol provides the single best low-carbon alternative available today, compatible with today’s existing auto fleet, and affordable for communities around the world.

Strong annual targets for biofuel blending not only harness America’s abundant renewable energy, but they are also vital to consumers, biofuel producers, and rural families. That is why regulators must enforce the RFS as Congress intended and expand the market for biofuel blends every single year.

Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 46% compared to regular gasoline. Nationwide adoption of low-carbon biofuel blends of 15% can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an additional 17.62 million tons annually, the equivalent of taking 3.85 million cars off the road.

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