According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Renewable Fuel Standard has unfolded as expected in some respects, but has not unfolded as expected in others.
The committee says several implementation challenges have emerged that received little consideration prior to passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
In addition, the committee says the overall energy landscape has changed since 2007. As a result, the committee intends to undertake an assessment of the RFS. The committee is issuing a series of white papers as the first step in the review. Each will provide an overview of an issue and solicit input from interested stakeholders.
The first white paper, on the so-called blend wall and fuel compatibility issues, was released Wednesday. The paper states the targets in the RFS may soon necessitate that more than 10-percent of ethanol be added to the gasoline supply.
According to the white paper, because of declining gasoline usage, the blend wall is approaching much faster than anticipated and may actually be reached as soon as late this year or 2014. Citing the EPA’s denial of an RFS waiver last year, the paper questions whether the existing waiver process could be used to address any blend wall issues that may arise.
Four subsequent white papers will address other economic, environmental and policy issues.