In 2005, Congress created the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) to lessen our dependence on foreign sources of fuel, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. The RFS requires that transportation fuel sold in the U.S. contain a certain amount of renewable fuels. We are fortunate here in Ohio because of our agricultural strength. We have the ability to grow, process and consume biofuels more effectively than most states, giving us the ability to rely less on petroleum, and be a reliable provider of the resources necessary for all states to meet the RFS.
Congress expanded the RFS program in 2007 with the goal of achieving 36 billion gallons of biofuels used by 2022. The program includes volume standards for corn and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel from various feedstocks, and renewable natural gas (RNG), which is methane captured from controlled decomposition of organic wastes. The RFS has wide support in the public health community, including that of the American Lung Association, because of the health benefits of reducing air emissions and economic benefits of domestically producing a fuel as opposed to importing fuels from far away suppliers in other countries.
Every few years since Congress expanded the program, the U.S. EPA recalibrates these RFS volume standards to make progress toward the longer-term volume goals, based on the capacity of the industry. Currently, they are undergoing this process for 2018. It is important for consumers and the advancement of the industry that the U.S. EPA impose strong standards that allow for the increased use of biofuels.
Biofuels are an important component to our energy system. There is no silver bullet for energy independence, reducing harmful emissions, or creating sustainable jobs of the future. But all renewable fuels, including ethanol, biodiesel and RNG, help. Clean Fuels Ohio believes it is important for Congress and the U.S. EPA continue to set strong, increasing standards for biofuels under the RFS in 2018.