OMB reviews final rule to set 2019 RVOs under the RFS

By Erin Voegele | October 31, 2018

On Oct. 30, the U.S. EPA delivered its final rule to set 2019 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, along with the 2020 RVO for biomass-based diesel, to the White House Office of Management and Budget. OMB review marks a final step before the final rule is published.

The EPA released a prepublication version of the proposed 2019 RFS rule in late June. The proposal aimed to require 19.88 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply in 2019, up from 19.29 billion gallons in 2018. 

Under the proposed rule, the 19.88 billion gallon RVO for 2019 included 381 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 4.88 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel. The 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel was set last year. The proposed 2019 RVOs would allow for up to 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel to meet the annual blending requirement, most of which is corn ethanol.

The rulemaking also proposed to set the 2020 RVO for biomass-based diesel at 2.43 billion gallons, up 330 million gallons when compared to the 2019 and 2018 RVOs of 2.1 billion gallons.

On a percentage basis, the proposed rule would require total renewable fuel to comprise 10.88 percent of U.S. transportation fuel next year, including 2.67 percent advanced biofuel, 1.72 percent biomass-based diesel and 0.209 percent cellulosic biofuel.

A public comment period on the proposed rule was open through Aug. 17. According to information posted to Regulations.gov, more than 350,000 public comments were filed on the proposed rule. Based on those comments, the EPA may have made changes to the proposed RVOs included in the pending final rule.

EPA seems to be on track to release a final rule setting 2019 RVOs and the 2020 RVO for biomass-based diesel by the statutory deadline of Nov. 30. Information included in the OMB’s Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which was published on Oct. 17, confirms that EPA expects to publish a final rule in November.