New US Legislation Proposes 60 Billion Gallon Renewable Fuel Standard
5 January 2007
On the first day of the new Congress, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE), Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) and Barack Obama (D-IL) introduced legislation that proposes a new federal renewable fuels standard (RFS) of 60 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel by 2030.
The current RFS specifies 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2012. (Earlier post.) Based on forecasts of fuel consumption of approximately 198 billion gallons of gasoline equivalent in 2030, the 60 billion RFS would work out to approximately 30% of the fuel required.
The Department of Energy, when it outlined its Billion-Ton Vision for biofuels in 2005, projected that fuels from biomass could supply 20% of transportation needs in 2030. (Earlier post.)
The new legislation—the BioFuels Security Act of 2007—calls for boosting ethanol and biodiesel production to 30 billion gallons annually by 2020, and then doubling that quantity over the following ten years to meet the 60 billion gallon target by 2030.
The bill also calls for increasing the number of gasoline stations that carry blends of 85% ethanol (E85). The bill would require large oil companies to install E85 pumps at their stations, increasing by five percentage points annually over the next 10 years, resulting in approximately 50% percent of all major brand gasoline stations nationwide having E85 pumps available within a decade.
The bill directs automakers to gradually increase flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) production, increasing in ten percentage-point increments annually, until nearly all vehicles sold in the US are FFVs within 10 years. Currently, flex-fuel vehicles make up only about two percent of vehicles on the road.
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