EPA Finalizes the Renewable Volume Obligations for the Year 2020

Today, December 19, EPA announced the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the year 2020. The final rule can be found here. EPA finalized 590 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 2.43 billion gallons of biomass-based diesle, 5.04 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and 20.09 billion gallons of total renewable fuel. EPA also finalized 2.43 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel of the year 2021.

While these numbers are an increase from 2019’s finalized Renewable Volume Obligations, they they still fall noticeably short of the statutory target volumes. The Clean Air Act grants EPA waiver authority when the “projected cellulosic biofuel production volume is less than the applicable volume specified in the statute…” This authority extends to the volume requirements for advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel. EPA used this authority in 2018 and 2019 to set the finalized RVO’s for those years.

The finalized RVOs are supposed to take into account the volume of gallons waived by the Small Refiner Exemptions (SREs). While the volume of gallons for Cellulosic Biofuel and Total Renewable Fuel increased from the proposed RVO to the finalized RVO, it is still not a complete representation of the number of gallons waived by SREs. These numbers suggest that EPA is continuing with the redistribution of waived gallons based on a three-year rolling average of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommendation, rather than what EPA actually waives