Administration wants renewable fuel program

The Bush administration is proposing that 3.71 percent of all the gasoline sold or dispensed to US motorists in 2007 be renewable fuel, according to information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Last December, EPA issued a rule implementing the Energy Policy Act's default standard of 2.78 percent for 2006, which will continue to apply through this calendar year.

Projecting annual cuts up to 3.9 billion gallons in petroleum use and 14 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions, the administration proposed the new renewable fuels standard (RFS) program that is designed to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil by doubling the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, according to EPA. In addition, proponents of the program believe advanced technologies under development could make it possible to produce renewable ethanol from agricultural and industrial waste at a cost competitive with today's gas prices. The program is designed to cut petroleum use by approximately 3.9 billion gallons a year in 2012 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 14 million tons annually.

The rule contains compliance tools and a credit and trading system for the industry that is integral to the overall program. The system allows renewable fuels to be used where they are most economical, while providing a flexible means for industry to comply with the standard, EPA said.

While the RFS program would provide the certainty that a minimum amount of renewable fuel will be used in the United States; more can be used if fuel producers and blenders choose to do so. In 2006, there will be about 4.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel consumed as motor vehicle fuel in the United States. The proposal requires that this volume increase to at least 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

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