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Future Renewable Fuel Standard Targets

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) designates the minimum levels at which several categories of biofuels are to be consumed through the year 2022. The RFS is defined in the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007, which revised and extended provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The RFS has put targets in place for total annual consumption of biofuels and for subcategories that exclude corn ethanol, advanced biofuels, cellulosic biofuels, and biodiesel.


Since 2007, the U.S. has met its RFS targets mainly by burning corn ethanol. Each year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can adjust the annual targets based on their analysis of the state of technology and the expected production capabilities for each biofuel. After 2015, the contribution of corn ethanol to RFS targets cannot exceed 15 billion gallons per year and the alternate categories will have to make up the difference, as shown in the above graphic. However, the technology is not yet available to supply these other biofuels in commercially significant quantities. Moreover, a study from Purdue University has found that our current transportation infrastructure is unable to support 15 billion gallons of ethanol, and concludes that the U.S. will not be able to meet the original RFS-mandated biofuel targets in the coming years. Purdue researchers suggest that without increases to ethanol blends of gasoline in America and further investment in developing advanced biofuels, the future RFS targets will be missed.