US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced a bill (S.1297) increasing the volume of low-carbon and advanced renewable fuels to as much as 35 billion gallons by 2025.
Separately, Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ted Stevens (R-AK), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee, released compromise legislation that would establish a nationwide new vehicle fleet fuel economy average of 35 mpg by 2020 for passenger cars and light-duty trucks—about 40% higher than the current average of about 25 mpg.
Under Senator Boxer’s bill, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to increase the Renewable Fuels Standard from 12 billion gallons in 2011 to as much as 35 billion gallons by 2025. To count towards the Renewable Fuels Standard, however, fuel must be at least 20% better than gasoline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, the Renewable Fuels Standard would require increasing volumes of fuels that are at least 50% and 75% better than gasoline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. EPA would be required to establish an Advanced Clean Fuel Performance Standard that gradually reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the entire transportation fuel supply by as much as 10% of 2008 levels by 2020.
Additional aspects of the bill include:
The National Academy of Sciences would periodically study the environmental and other impacts, and the energy independence implications, of increasing the amount of advanced clean fuels in the transportation fuel supply.
The bill would establish a green renewable fuel labeling program modeled on Energy Star to spotlight renewable fuels that result in 50% lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline and that are produced using best environmental management practices.
The bill promotes the use of the most suitable lands for clean fuels development.
Following the 35 mpg standard in 2020, the Inouye-Stevens bill proposes ongoing improvements of 4% per year in fuel economy for cars and trucks. The bill proposes fuel economy improvements of 4% per year for medium- and heavy-duty trucks beginning in 2011. The Department of Transportation would have flexibility to adjust the standards if industry could not meet the rules.
The proposal would also eliminate the current flex-fuel credit for automakers by 2009.