The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the 2012 volume requirements and percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2).

The Required Volume Obligation (RVO) for biomass-based diesel in 2012 is 1 billion gallons, an increase of 200 million gallons over the 2011 RVO.

While the final production totals for 2011 are not yet available, through November, the U.S. biodiesel industry established a record level of production, already exceeding 900 million gallons. Totals for the year could exceed 1 billion gallons.

Approximately half of this production was biodiesel produced from soybean oil and was possible due to the existence of the biodiesel tax credit and the RFS2, which were established through strong support from the American Soybean Association.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022.

To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

• Biomass-based diesel — 1.0 billion gallons (0.91 percent);

• Advanced biofuels — 2.0 billion gallons (1.21 percent);

• Cellulosic biofuels — 8.65 million gallons (0.006 percent);

• Total renewable fuels — 15.2 billion gallons (9.23 percent).

In the rule issued last week, EPA did not set the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2013.

In the Proposed Rule issued last spring EPA included a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013. The EISA statute specifies a one billion gallon minimum volume requirement for biomass-based diesel for 2013 and beyond, but enables EPA to increase the volume requirement based on consideration of a variety of environmental, market, and energy-related factors.

EPA indicated the administration is continuing to evaluate the many comments from stakeholders on the proposed biomass-based diesel volume for 2013 and will take final action sometime in 2012.