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Agriculture-based biofuels Last Updated on 2013-09-30 14:20:59 Summary Since the late 1970s, U.S. policymakers at both the federal and state levels have enacted a variety of incentives, regulations, and programs to encourage the production and use of agriculture-based biofuels. Initially, federal biofuels policies were developed to help kick-start the biofuels industry during its early development, when neither production capacity nor a market for the finished product was widely available. Federal policy has played a key role in helping to close the price gap between biofuels and cheaper petroleum fuels. Now, as the industry has evolved, other policy goals (e.g., national energy security, climate change concerns, support for rural economies) are cited by proponents as justification for continuing policy support. The U.S. biofuels sector has responded to these government incentives by expanding output every year since 1996, with important... More »
Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs in the United States Last Updated on 2011-05-11 00:00:00 There are a variety of biofuels incentives in the USA and worldwide. The present article is a summary of those programs in the USA as of 2010. Note: This article was derived from the Congressional Research Service Report R40110, Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs by Brent D. Yacobucci With recent high energy prices, the passage of major energy legislation in 2005 (P.L. 109-58) and 2007 (P.L. 110-140), and the passage of a farm bill in 2008 (P.L. 110-246), there is ongoing congressional interest in promoting alternatives to petroleum fuels. Biofuels —transportation fuels produced from plants and other organic materials—are of particular interest. Ethanol and biodiesel, the two most widely used biofuels, receive significant government support under federal law in the form of mandated fuel use, tax incentives, loan and... More »
Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in the U.S. Congress Last Updated on 2011-05-11 00:00:00 In the United States, alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles are seen by proponents as integral to improving urban air quality, decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. However, major barriers—especially economics—currently prevent the widespread use of these fuels and technologies. Because of these barriers, and the potential benefits, there is continued congressional interest in providing incentives and other support for their development and commercialization. Note: This article was derived from the Congressional Research Service Report R40168, Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress by Brent Yacobucci On February 3, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new rules for the renewable fuel standard (RFS) that was expanded... More »
Renewable Fuel Standard Mandate for Cellulosic Biofuels Last Updated on 2011-05-11 00:00:00 Introduction This summary reviews the competing cellulosic biofuel allotment between the Congressional Energy Independence and Security Act and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and identifies questions which may arise in the 112th Congress energy legislation debates on this issue of alternative fuel sources and technologies.  Renewable Fuel Standard Mandate for Cellulosic Biofuels The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA; P.L. 110-140) in an effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil, promote biofuel use, and stabilize transportation fuel prices, among other goals. Over a 15-year period, the RFS seeks to establish a market for biofuels in the transportation sector by requiring that increasing amounts of biofuels—36 billion gallons by 2022—be blended into transportation fuel. The... More »
United States Renewable Fuel Standard Last Updated on 2011-03-03 00:00:00 Summary Federal policy has played a key role in the emergence of the U.S. biofuels industry. Policy measures include minimum renewable fuel usage requirements, blending and production tax credits, an import tariff, loans and loan guarantees, and research grants. This report focuses on the mandated minimum usage requirements—referred to as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)— whereby a minimum volume of biofuels is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply each year. It describes the general nature of the RFS mandate and its implementation, and outlines some emerging issues related to the sustainability of the continued growth in U.S. biofuels production needed to fulfill the expanding RFS mandate, as well as the emergence of potential unintended consequences of this rapid expansion. Congress first established an RFS with the enactment of the Energy Policy Act of... More »