The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the nation’s first renewable fuels standard (RFS) program, which was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and will promote the use of American-grown biofuels, will take effect Sept. 1. As in over Labor Day weekend, folks. That means the biofuel industry (refiners, blenders and importers) has to meet certain reporting, registration, and compliance standards by that deadline.
As we all know by now, fuel made from plants, waste, food crops and the seemingly endless A to Z of biomass materials is becoming a booming business. According to Clean Edge, the global market for biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) will grow from $20.5 billion in 2006 to $80.9 billion by 2016. The industry is also generating controversy as the prices of certain food items has risen, and critics are questioning the efficiency of first-generation biofuel methods.
If you have to comply with the new RFS program, here’s three basic things you should know:
- A minimum of 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel must be blended into vehicle fuel sold in the U.S. by 2012.
- A certain percentage of the total volume of fuel a company produces or imports has to be renewable fuel each year between 2007 and 2012. For 2007, 4.02 percent of the fuel sold will have to come from renewable sources (about 4.7 billion gallons). And the minimum volume will increase every year through 2012.
- If you’re a biofuel company and thoroughly confused, the EPA is extending its RFS Helpline [(202) 343-9755] hours over the long weekend in order to help with registration-type questions.