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Renewable Fuels Standard Re-introduced to Senate

The National Corn Grower’s Association reports that Senate Republicans have re-introduced legislation for a Renewable Fuels Standard.

The new measure, introduced by John Thune (R-S.D.), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) would reportedly require 6 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended into the nation’s fuel supply annually by 2012.

This represents a 1 billion gallon (20%) increase from the amount initially proposed in the RFS proposed in 2001.


But 6 billion gallons in 2012 represents only 2.8% of projected 2012 gasoline and diesel fuel consumption in the US. By comparison, the European Union has set an intermediate target of a 5.75% renewables component for its fuels by 2011, with 20% being the goal for 2020. (Directive 20203/30/EC)

Here’s the math.

In its recently released its Annual Energy Outlook 2005 with Projections to 2025, the EIA projects the energy consumption of gasoline and diesel in 2012 as 19,807.1 trillion BTU and 7,247.5 trillion BTU respectively.

That works out to approximately 159.7 billion gallons of gasoline and 52.1 billion gallons of diesel.

With combined gasoline/diesel consumption of 211.9 billion gallons, a renewable fuels target of 6 billion gallons represents 2.8%.

As a related note, the EIA projects gasoline consumption to rise 16.8% from 2004–2012, and diesel to rise 24.6% in the same period.

Senator Thune, who defeated long-time RFS proponent Daschle, is taking some heat in his home state of South Dakota on the negotiations surrounding the amount of biofuel specified in the RFS.

Several SD blogs cited this report from Red River Farm Network earlier in March:

“Because Senator Inhofe is from an oil state and not a corn state, a higher gallon number is just not possible, at this time, to get it out of committee,” said Sara Hagedorn, legislative assistant for Senator Thune, “We need to make certain concessions early on to get this included in the energy bill.” Hagedorn says some people continue to push for a higher RFS minimum, but “I cannot stress enough, Inhofe will not mark up a bill that is a seven or eight billion gallon RFS—in fact, he could pull the entire thing from consideration.” (Clean Cut Kid)

An 8-billion RFS would represent a 3.8% renewable component.

There is still a long way to go with the bill—we’ll see how it ends up, assuming it makes it farther than its predecessors.


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