The Move to Ethanol
The United States stands at the threshold of transitioning from an economy with a transportation sector that is dominated by the use of fossil fuels to one that is based on low carbon fuels such asethanol and biodiesel. Beginning with decisions in California and New York to phase out the
oxygenate methyl tertiary-butyl ether (“MTBE”), gasoline refiners are increasingly using ethanol to meet the reformulated gasoline program required by the Clean Air Act of 1990.
The Energy Security Act of 2005 has further driven the nation’s movement to ethanol and biodiesel
as transportation fuels. The statute established the first-ever Renewable Fuels Standard (“RFS”) in federal law, which required that at least 4 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel be used in 2006, ramping up to at least 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. For 2013 and each year thereafter, the statute requires the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a new RFS of not less than the percentage of 7.5 billion gallons to the total volume of the U. S. gasoline supply in 2012. In addition, the RFS includes a separate element calling for at least 250 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol starting in 2013.
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