ATA, 8 Others Ask EPA to Adjust Biofuel Output Volumes

Lowballed Biofuel Output Numbers Caused Companies to Close, Group Says
Canola harvest
Canola is harvested. (esemelwe/Getty Images)

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Renewable fuel production targets set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are too low to sustain the sector and have resulted in shuttered biofuel companies, a consortium of trade associations stated in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan asking the agency to promulgate more accurate standards to encourage increased output.

“Collectively, we represent hundreds of domestic businesses employing millions of Americans,” read the April 29 letter signed by nine trade associations, including American Trucking Associations. “We represent low-carbon fuel producers, feedstock providers and consumers of transportation fuels across a broad spectrum.”

Joining ATA in the three-page letter was the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, American Soybean Association, Association of American Railroads, Clean Fuels Alliance America, National Energy & Fuels Institute, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Renderers Association and U.S. Canola Association.

“Each of our industries are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we recognize that sustainable biofuels offer some of the most substantial immediate benefits to deliver carbon reductions,” the group noted.

Letter to EPA on RFS Volumes

They wrote that last year many of them expressed support for the EPA’s use of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to drive production of advanced ultra-low carbon biofuels such as biomass-based diesel. But now they believe the agency has gone off-course.

“EPA set RFS standards for 2023-2025 at volumes we believe are unreasonably low,” they said. “This decision is negatively impacting the program’s stability, the rural economy’s strength, the domestic renewable fuels industry’s future, and our ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today.”

The groups added, “In a break with precedent, the agency failed to account for actual renewable fuel production during the first months of the compliance year, ignoring available data from the EPA Moderated Transaction System and other federal agencies.”

Specifically, the group pointed out that the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted that EPA’s volume standards for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel were set significantly lower than production trends, with EPA underestimating output for renewable fuels across the board as well as availability of Renewable Identification Numbers for all Renewable Fuel Standard compliance production categories.

The EPA uses Renewable Identification Numbers and Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) as measurement mechanisms and targets for each petroleum-based gas or diesel fuel refiner/importer to encourage biofuel production by issuing annual rules about how much renewable fuel output should be made nationwide.

“The EPA should utilize the RFS [Renewable Fuel Standard] to improve energy security, bolster domestic industry and manufacturing, and maintain America’s leadership in developing and using sustainable, clean transportation technologies. While our industries will continue to make investments in producing, distributing, and using low-carbon fuels, EPA can and should send a strong signal to the market through robust RVOs,” the group urged.

The letter highlighted the dramatic drop in the value of Renewable Fuel Standard compliance credits (or RINs) in response to the volume targets EPA set last year, which resulted in several biofuel production facilities closing and now threatens investments to raise feedstock processing, the groups said.

Kurt Kovarik, federal affairs vice president with Clean Fuels, said: “Transportation industries are looking for low-carbon solutions — particularly for heavy-duty engines — and clean fuels producers and feedstock suppliers are coordinating to deliver those solutions.”

He said the organizations are united in asking EPA to accelerate biofuel growth, support renewable fuels investments and enable higher biofuel volumes to enable the nation to achieve significant near-term greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“EPA must act in a timely manner on the 2026 RFS volumes to keep the program on track,” he declared.

Kailee Tkacz Buller


Kailee Tkacz Buller, president and CEO of the National Oilseed Processors Association, said that industry continues to meet food, feed and fuel demand while being ready to meet higher RVOs for 2026 and in the future.

“March was the largest monthly crush ever reported, up 11 million bushels year-over-year. Members have made over $6 billion in investments to increase crush capacity by nearly 30%. This growth trajectory will be put in doubt risking billions in investments without certainty, clarity, and aligning RVOs to actual industry capacity from the EPA,” Buller predicted.

The nine associations asked that EPA propose and finalize the 2026 Renewable Fuel Standard volume by the November statutory deadline without delays that would push back compliance.

“We also ask that your agency make full use of available data on actual renewable fuel production and current and future availability of feedstocks,” the letter to Regan concluded.

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