Two Republican members of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee released a legislative discussion draft on Nov. 21 aimed at reforming quotas under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard by establishing a national octane specification beginning in 2023.
It also would set conventional biofuel volumes at 15 billion gal/year in 2020, 2021, and 2022, and require the US Environmental Protection Agency administrator to determine applicable volumes for 2023 through 2032 by Mar. 1 of each year.
The draft also would establish a Feb. 28 deadline for the EPA administrator to determine applicable volumes for advanced biofuel, cellulosic biofuel, and biomass-based diesel fuel based on the actual volume produced during the preceding calendar year. The amounts would be adjusted following a midyear review no later than Sept. 1.
The draft also proposed establishing fuel dispenser standards “compatible with automotive fuel with a concentration of up to and including 20% ethanol by volume” by Jan. 1, 2023. It would prevent state or local governments from banning or requiring “any particular blend, concentration, or percentage of ethanol in any automotive fuel.” Its first title deals entirely with high-octane fuel.
“We have learned from robust stakeholder input through hearings, roundtables, and meetings that higher octane fuels can bring increased fuel economy and performance for next generation engines,” said Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.).
“Since ethanol is one of the lowest-cost sources of octane in many areas of the country, a transition from the RFS beginning in 2023 to a national octane specification creates new market opportunities for biofuel producers and gives certainty to refining stakeholders,” Flores said.
“In this Congress—through three stakeholder roundtables, five subcommittee hearings, and countless other meetings and conversations—my goal was to look beyond just the [RFS] to comprehensively reshape federal transportation fuel policies in a way that could provide more value to consumers and more certainty to industry stakeholders,” said Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.)