|States with RFS measures enacted (dark green) or in legislative process (light green).|
The Louisiana legislature has passed HB 685, a renewable fuels standard (RFS) that mandates that 2% of the total volume of gasoline and diesel sold in the state be ethanol (or another denatured fuel) and biodiesel, respectively. The bill now heads to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco for signature.
The RFS mandate for gasoline is not triggered until monthly production of ethanol in Louisiana exceeds an annualized volume of 50 million gallons. The RFS mandate for biodiesel is not triggered until monthly production of biodiesel in Louisiana exceeds an annualized volume of 10 million gallons.
Currently, there are no ethanol plants in Louisiana, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. There are no biodiesel plants in operation or under construction in Louisiana, according to the National Biodiesel Board.
Retailers will not be required to purchase or to sell ethanol or biodiesel, nor does the proposed law require that fuels containing ethanol or biodiesel be sold in ozone nonattainment areas.
That last provision, however, did not deter a strong negative response from the Louisiana Chemical Association, which sent the Governor a letter calling for the veto of the bill.
The LCA, while supporting other arguments against the bill that point to the possibility of increased fuel costs, argued that the increased use of ethanol could increase NOx formation, and that if that happens in the Baton Rouge area (a federal non-attainment zone), reductions will be sought through a revised State Implementation Plan, the burden of which would be borne by the chemical manufacturers in the non-attainment region.
A backgrounder on biofuels posted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality on its website notes that:
It is reported that the use of a 10% ethanol blend fuel reduces tailpipe emissions of particulate matter (PM) by 50%, carbon monoxide emissions by up to 30%, toxics content up to 13% (by mass), and toxics content up to 21% (by potency). Ethanol blends also reduce secondary PM formation by diluting aromatic content in gasoline.
However, it is also reported that ethanol blends at 5.7% (RFG) to 10% can produce a small increase (around 5%) of nitrogen oxides (NOX) in exhaust emissions. This small increase is more than offset by reduction of tailpipe emissions of other pollutants. However, since NOX can react with volatile organic compounds to produce ozone, it is of concern for ozone nonattainment areas such as Baton Rouge where regional ozone modeling has indicated a NOX reduction strategy as being necessary to achieve attainment for the ozone standard.
Louisiana HB 685