The Renewable Fuel Standard: Timeline of a Successful Policy

The RFS working as intended to increase U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness.
Gevo biorefinery undergoing renovation for biobutanol production
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RFS Works to Increase U.S. Energy and Economic Security

“The Renewable Fuel Standard: Timeline of a Successful Policy” (download PDF) is a visual representation of the progress and results of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It shows commercial biorefineries across the United States, some of which have been operating for up to five years and others that are under construction. 

The first RFS, the bedrock policy encouraging continued investment in production of biofuels, came into being when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 containing an updated RFS. It set annual standards for production and use of both conventional and advanced renewable fuels, with conventional biofuel to reach 15 billion gallons by 2015 and advanced biofuel to reach 21 billion gallons by 2022, for a combined 36 billion gallons.   

The RFS is the key policy supporting the commercial development of advanced biofuels, and is working to drive investment in this new and vitally important industry. It is also working as intended to increase U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness by helping U.S. companies commercialize advanced biofuels. 

Annual biofuel production five years ago stood at about 3.9 billion gallons of ethanol and 112 million gallons of biodiesel. Now annual ethanol production is more than 13 billion gallons and biodiesel is more than 1 billion gallons. Five years ago there were five operating cellulosic biofuel biorefinery pilot plants and about 20 other planned demonstration and commercial projects. There were also two operating biobased plastic biorefineries. Today, there are many more and also many more kinds of biorefineries – ranging from advanced and cellulosic biofuels, to algae production, to biobased products and renewable chemicals. 

There are more operating demonstration and commercial biorefineries – and a number of cellulosic biofuel biorefineries under construction and set to begin production in the next few years as well. This document provides visible evidence that the Renewable Fuel Standard is working. Achieving U.S. energy security requires domestic alternatives to all products that flow from foreign oil. Innovative U.S. companies have moved as rapidly toward commercialization as possible, relying on stable policy under the RFS. 

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