The EPA's Renewable Fuel Standards for 2013 have been finalized, and it's a good billion gallons more than it was last year. In 2012, the EPA set the Renewable Fuel Standard (aka RFS2) limits at 15.2 billion gallons. In 2013, the number has grown to 16.55 billion gallons, and so, the EPA says, "in 2013 about 10% of all fuel used will be from renewable sources." It's actually 9.74 percent, but who's counting. On top of corn-based ethanol, that amount includes:
  • Biomass-based diesel (1.28 billion gallons; 1.13 percent)
  • Advanced biofuels (2.75 billion gallons; 1.62 percent)
  • Cellulosic biofuels (6.00 million gallons; 0.004 percent)
The EPA also looked at the so-called "E10 blend wall," which is projected to happen next year. This is the point at which the market place can no longer accept more biofuels, even if the laws require producers to make it. The EPA says it:

recognizes that ethanol will likely continue to predominate the renewable fuel pool in the near future, and that for 2014 the ability of the market to consume ethanol in higher blends such as E85 is highly constrained as a result of infrastructure- and market-related factors. EPA does not currently foresee a scenario in which the market could consume enough ethanol sold in blends greater than E10, and/or produce sufficient volumes of non-ethanol biofuels to meet the volumes of total renewable fuel and advanced biofuel as required by statute for 2014.

In other words, somethings gotta give. The EPA says it will likely propose "adjustments to the 2014 volume requirements in the 2014 [Clean Air Act] rule to address these constraints." The EPA is required by law to establish annual biofuel limits to stay on the path of reaching 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel a year in 2022, a level established in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). In 2009, the total was 11.1 billion gallons, climbing to 12.95 billion gallons in 2010. In 2011, it was again increased to 13.95 billion gallons. You can read more in these PDFs from the EPA: Final Rules, Fact Sheet.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Congress wanted Americans to burn that much ethanol, they should have mandated all vehicles sold in the USA after say 2008 could use e85. Anyone who could do basic math would see that the e10 limit would be hit around now. Not that I think ethanol as a fuel is a good idea either. And the advanced biofuels law has produced some stupid results as well; fuel refiners import Brazilian ethanol, the cheapest "advanced biofuel" to comply with the law, while at the same time Brazil has been unable to make enough ethanol to meet its own needs, and has been importing American corn ethanol to make up the difference. So there are ships that drop off Brazilian ethanol in the US, and then load up with American ethanol to take back to Brazil, spewing nasty bunker oil fumes the whole way.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Keep that bar nice and low, EPA.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well if you consider renewable electricity as a transport fuel then 10% is no limit at all.
      • 2 Years Ago
      American car makers did make a lot of Flex Fuel cars because it won them points for CAFE. Many people don't even know what E85 is and that their car can take it. If the EPA maintained the production mandate, then the price of E85 would drop below the price of E10 and more people would buy it. The fact is that a gallon of E85 contains less energy than a gallon of E10, so it has to be cheaper per gallon in order to be the same price per mile. I'm sure if the price in terms of $/mile was 10% below E10, then enough people would buy it and more stations would carry it and the price would stabilize.
      Mark Schaffer
      • 2 Years Ago
      " "in 2013 about 10% of all fuel used will be from renewable sources." It's actually 9.74 percent, but who's counting." Perhaps Sebastian doesn't know what the word "about" means.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ethanol made from corn is anything *but* renewable.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Theoretically speaking, what if all of our cars ran off of the grid somehow, or off of other sources such as natural gas coconut husks or unicorn farts? Then, what if our planes were fueled with ethanol? Is it possible that we could not need oil for any energy? We could save it to be used only for manufacturing, such as making plastics?
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Years Ago
      There is no such thing as the "E10 blend wall.' It is a fiction to justify reduction in ethanol production that has threaten the bottom line of Big Oil. The truth is that Big Oil lobby and politicians have the EPA against the flogging wall. After the US Supreme Court shot down Big Oil's challenge to E15, Big Oil turned up the political heat and now the EPA buckling under the pressure.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Technically you can take any carbon source including CO2 and turn it into a fuel. It's really a cost issue, not science. Of course, that where the R&D is, in making the efficiency of process better so that the renewables are more cost competitive. EPA if not beaten by the business leaders (our real leaders) could mandate higher renewable fuels levels, that would raise prices some, but also incentivise technical improvements in the production technologies. Is it just me, but isn't it weird to have the EPA so toothless under a democratic administration?
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