By Erin Voegele

In its proposed denial of the petitions, the EPA said it believes the current structure of the RFS program is working to incentivize the production, distribution and use of renewable transportation fuels in the U.S. while providing obligated parties with various options for acquiring renewable identification numbers (RINs) needed to comply with RFS standards. In addition, the agency said it does not believe that the petitioners have demonstrated that changing the point of obligation is likely to result in the increased use of renewable fuels. The EPA also noted that changing the point of obligation would not address two of the primary issues that are inhibiting the growth in the supply of renewable fuels, specifically the challenges associated with commercializing cellulosic biofuel technologies and the marketplace dynamics that inhibit greater use of fuels containing higher levels of ethanol.

According to the EPA, changing the point of obligation could disrupt investments reasonably made by participants in the fuels industry in reliance of the regulatory structure that is already in place. The agency also indicated that any programmatic advantages of to making such a change to the RFS would need to be certain and substantial in light of expects impacts on the program. Read more…