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How could the RFS program be improved to encourage more rapid deployment of low-carbon fuels?

Without any statutory changes, EPA could tweak the RFS program to better incentivize and reward better-performing fuels. By statute, advanced biofuels must deliver 50% or more GHG emissions reductions compared to a 2005 fossil-based baseline. However, many of ABFA’s members produce fuels that far exceed those minimum levels of carbon reduction, and EPA could modify the RFS program to better reward those reductions.

EPA has at its disposal a number of regulatory options to achieve this goal. For example, the Agency could provide additional compliance credit value for better performing fuels, drop-in fuels, or sustainable aviation fuel. Additionally, the Agency could expedite review and approval of more low-carbon fuel pathways for both new feedstocks and technologies to enable more RFS-compliant production of low-carbon renewable fuels.

While the most recent update to the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2023 acknowledged the progress the advanced biofuels industry has made and moved U.S. policy towards a more technology neutral approach, it still undervalued the sector’s production potential. As emissions continue to rise it is more important than ever that the next RFS update fully supports the advanced biofuels industry. In the meantime, policy makers can send a consistent signal through tax credits and funding opportunities to help fill in the gaps created by the RFS.