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Renewable Fuels Strategy

The United States is looking to sustainable renewable biofuels to decrease its dependence on fossil fuels and accordingly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and waste management problems.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new strategy for increasing the supply of renewable fuels, with a target of 36 billion gallons [more than 136 billion liters] by 2022, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Under this proposed strategy, renewable fuels would for the first time be required to achieve greenhouse emission reductions compared to the gasoline and diesel fuels they displace to receive credit toward meeting the new volume standards.

Energy independence, said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, puts billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, creates green jobs [jobs that help the environment] and protects the planet from climate change.

By increasing its use of renewable biofuels, the U.S. can also decrease its dependence on foreign oil by more than 297 million barrels a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 160 million tons a year when this new strategy is fully phased in by 2022.

Biofuels are solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel obtained from biological material. These fuels are potentially far less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum.

The Energy Independence and Security Act, enacted by Congress in 2007, establishes 4 categories of renewable fuels – cellulosic fuels or fuels produced from wood, grass, or non-edible parts of plants; biomass-based diesel, or fuel produced from recently living plants, animals or their by-products; advanced biofuels and total renewable fuel.

The EPA proposal would require by 2022, 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels; 15 billion gallons annually of conventional biofuels; 4 billion gallons of advanced biofuels; and one billion gallons of biomass-based diesel.

To achieve the volume requirements, each year the Environmental Protection Agency calculates a percentage-based standard that refiners, importers and blenders of gasoline and diesel must ensure is used in transportation fuel. The thresholds for new categories would be 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions for renewable fuels produced from new facilities, 50 percent less for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels, and 60 percent less for cellulosic biofuels.

The United States is striving to do its part to help the world reduce greenhouse gas emissions and convert to economical and environmentally safer renewable energy.