New Energy Technologies

Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs in the United States

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Soybean powered bus. Source: U.S.Department of Energy

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 grant programs, and certain regulatory requirements. The 22 programs and provisions listed in this report have been established over the past three decades, and are administered by five separate agencies and departments: Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Internal Revenue Service, and Customs and Border Protection. These programs target a variety of beneficiaries, including farmers and rural small businesses, biofuel producers, petroleum suppliers, and fuel marketers. Arguably, in prior years the most significant federal programs for biofuels have been tax credits for the production or sale of ethanol and biodiesel. However, with the establishment of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) under P.L. 109-58, Congress has mandated biofuels use; P.L. 110-140 significantly expanded that mandate. In the long term, the mandate may prove even more significant than tax incentives in promoting the use of these fuels.

The 2008 farm bill—The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008—amended or established various biofuels incentives, including lowering the value of the ethanol excise tax credit, establishing a tax credit for cellulosic biofuel production, extending import duties on fuel ethanol, and establishing several new grant and loan programs.

Several key biofuels incentives had expired or were set to expire (e.g., a tariff on ethanol imported from most countries, as well as tax credits for biodiesel, renewable diesel, and ethanol) before the passage of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312). The incentives included in that law have been extended through the end of 2011. However, it should be noted that support for extending some or all of these tax incentives beyond 2011 may be limited. On June 16, 2011, the Senate approved S.Amdt. 476, which would eliminate the excise tax credit for blending ethanol in gasoline. Although the prospects for the underlying legislation are unclear, this vote (73-27) suggests that it may be difficult to extend the credit beyond its scheduled December 31, 2011, expiration.

This article outlines federal programs that provide direct or indirect incentives for biofuels. For each program described, the report provides details including administering agency, authorizing statute(s), annual funding, and expiration date. The Appendix provides summary information in a table format.

Introduction

With recent high energy prices, the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140), and the passage of the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246), there is ongoing congressional interest in promoting greater use of 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 federal support in the form of tax incentives, loan and grant programs, and regulatory programs. The 2008 farm bill also modified existing incentives— including ethanol tax credits and import duties—and established a new tax credit for cellulosic biofuels. The farm bill also authorized new biofuels loan and grant programs, some of which were funded in the FY2010 appropriations cycle.

This report outlines 22 current, expired, or pending federal programs that provide direct or indirect incentives for biofuels. The programs are grouped below by administering agency. The incentives for biofuels are summarized in the Appendix. This information is compiled from authorizing statutes, committee reports, and Administration budget request documents.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — Renewable Fuel Standard

  • Administered by: EPA

  • Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1501 (P.L. 109-58); expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, §202 (P.L. 110- 140)

  • Scheduled termination: None

  • Description: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for automotive fuels. The RFS was expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The RFS requires the blending of renewable fuels (including ethanol and biodiesel) in transportation fuel. In 2010, fuel suppliers were required to include 12.95 billion gallons of renewable fuel in the national transportation fuel supply; this requirement increases annually to 36 billion gallons in 2022. The expanded RFS also specifically mandates the use of “advanced biofuels”—fuels produced from non-corn feedstocks and with 50% lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum fuel—starting in 2009. Of the 36 billion gallons required in 2022, at least 21 billion gallons must be advanced biofuel. There are also specific quotas for cellulosic biofuels and for biomass-based diesel fuel. On May 1, 2007, EPA issued a final rule on the original RFS program detailing compliance standards for fuel suppliers, as well as a system to trade renewable fuel credits between suppliers. On March 26, 2010, EPA issued final rules for the expanded program (RFS2), including lifecycle analysis methods necessary to categorize fuels as advanced biofuels, and new rules for credit verification and trading. While this program is not a direct subsidy for the construction of biofuels plants, the guaranteed market created by the renewable fuel standard is expected to stimulate growth of the biofuels industry and to raise prices above where they would have been in the absence of the mandate.

  • For more information: EPA Website, Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Various tax credits and other incentives are available for the production, blending, and/or sale of biofuels and biofuel blends. Tax credits vary by the type of fuel and the size of the producer. Before the enactment of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343, Division B), some of the credits allowed taxpayers to blend biofuels produced outside the United States with conventional fuels, export the blended fuel, and claim the tax credit. Section 203 of P.L. 110-343 effectively eliminated this so-called “splash-and-dash” practice by requiring that any fuel eligible for the credit must be produced and/or used within the United States. Recently, concerns have been raised over whether to continue tax credits for fuel that is produced in the United States but is ultimately exported.

Several key biofuels incentives had expired or were set to expire (e.g., a tariff on ethanol imported from most countries, as well as tax credits for biodiesel, renewable diesel, and ethanol) before the passage of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312). The incentives included in that law have been extended through the end of 2011. However, it should be noted that support for extending some or all of these tax incentives beyond 2011 may be limited. On June 16, 2011, the Senate approved S.Amdt. 476, which would eliminate the excise tax credit for blending ethanol in gasoline. Although the prospects for the underlying legislation are unclear, this vote (73-27) suggests that it may be difficult to extend the credit beyond its scheduled December 31, 2011, expiration.

Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: 2005 by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, §301 (P.L. 108- 357); modified by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §15331 (P.L. 110-246); further amended by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343, Division B), §203; extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312), §708

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2011

  • Description: Gasoline suppliers who blend ethanol with gasoline are eligible for a tax credit of 45 cents per gallon of ethanol.

  • Qualified applicant: Blenders of gasohol (i.e., gasoline suppliers and marketers) • For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and Refunds http://www.irs.gov/publications/p510/ch02.html

  • Note: On June 16, 2011, the Senate voted 73-27 to accept an amendment (S.Amdt. 476) that would eliminate the credit. A cloture vote on the underlying bill, S. 782, failed on June 21, 2011.

Small Ethanol Producer Credit

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: 1990 by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, §11502 (P.L. 101-508); extended by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, §301 (P.L. 108-357); expanded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1347 (P.L. 109-58); amended by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343, Division B), §203; extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312), §708

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2011

  • Description: The small ethanol producer credit is valued at 10 cents per gallon of ethanol produced. The credit may be claimed on the first 15 million gallons of ethanol produced by a small producer in a given year.

  • Qualified applicant: Any ethanol producer with production capacity below 60 million gallons per year

  • For more information:IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and Refunds

Biodiesel Tax Credit

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: 2005 by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, §302 (P.L. 108- 357); extended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1344 (P.L. 109-58); amended by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343, Division B), §202-203; extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312), §701

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2011

  • Description: Biodiesel producers (or producers of diesel/biodiesel blends) can claim a per-gallon tax credit. The credit is valued at $1.00 per gallon. Before amendment by P.L. 110-343, the credit was valued at $1.00 per gallon of “agribiodiesel” (biodiesel produced from virgin agricultural products such as soybean oil or animal fats), or 50 cents per gallon of biodiesel produced from previously used agricultural products (e.g., recycled fryer grease). The tax credit had expired at the end of 2009 and was not extended until the passage of P.L. 111-312, which retroactively applies the extension to fuel produced in 2010.

  • Qualified applicant: Biodiesel producers and blenders

  • For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and Refunds

Small Agri-Biodiesel Producer Credit

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1345 (P.L. 109-58); amended by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343, Division B), §202-203; extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312), §701

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2011

  • Description: The small agri-biodiesel producer credit is valued at 10 cents per gallon of “agri-biodiesel” (see Biodiesel Tax Credit, above) produced. The credit may be claimed on the first 15 million gallons of ethanol produced by a small producer in a given year. The tax credit had expired at the end of 2009 and was not extended until the passage of P.L. 111-312, which retroactively applies the extension to fuel produced in 2010.

  • Qualified applicant: Any agri-biodiesel producer with production capacity below 60 million gallons per year

  • For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and Refunds

Renewable Diesel Tax Credit

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1346 (P.L. 109-58); amended by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343, Division B), §202-203; extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312), §701

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2011

  • Description: Producers of biomass-based diesel fuel (or producers of diesel/renewable biodiesel blends) can claim $1.00 per gallon tax credit. Renewable diesel is similar to biodiesel, but it is produced through different processes and thus is ineligible for the (above) biodiesel credits. The tax credit had expired at the end of 2009 and was not extended until the passage of P.L. 111-312, which retroactively applies the extension to fuel produced in 2010. • Qualified applicant: Renewable diesel producers and blenders

  • For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and Refunds

Credit for Production of Cellulosic Biofuel

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: January 1, 2009, by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §15321 (P.L. 110-246)

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2012

  • Description: Producers of cellulosic biofuel can claim $1.01 per gallon tax credit. For producers of cellulosic ethanol, the value of the credit is reduced by the amount of the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit and the small ethanol producer credit (see above)—currently, the value is 46 cents per gallon. The credit applies to fuel produced after December 31, 2008.

  • Qualified applicant: Cellulosic biofuel producers

  • Note: The credit for cellulosic ethanol varies with other ethanol credits such that the total combined value of all credits is $1.01 per gallon. As the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit and/or the small ethanol producer credits decrease, the per-gallon credit for cellulosic ethanol production increases by the same amount.

Special Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biofuel Plant Property

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: 2006 by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, §209 (P.L. 109- 432); amended by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (P.L. 110- 343, Division B), §201

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2012

  • Description: A taxpayer may take a depreciation deduction of 50% of the adjusted basis of a new cellulosic biofuel plant in the year it is put in service. Any portion of the cost financed through tax-exempt bonds is exempted from the depreciation allowance. Before amendment by P.L. 110-343, the accelerated depreciation applied only to cellulosic ethanol plants that break down cellulose through enzymatic processes—the amended provision applies to all cellulosic biofuel plants.

  • Qualified applicant: Any cellulosic ethanol plant acquired after December 20, 2006, and placed in service before January 1, 2013. Any plant that had a binding contract for acquisition before December 20, 2006, does not qualify.

  • For more information: See Senate Finance Committee, Summary of House- Senate Agreement on Tax, Trade, Health, and Other Provisions, December 7, 2006.

Alternative Fuel Station Credit

  • Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

  • Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 §1342 (P.L. 109-58); extended by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, §207 (P.L. 110- 343, Division B); expanded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, §1123 (P.L. 111-5); extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312), §711

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2011

  • Description: A taxpayer may take a 30% credit for the installation of alternative fuel infrastructure, up to $30,000, including E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) infrastructure. Residential installations qualify for a $1,000 credit (biofuels pumps are not generally installed in residential applications)

  • Qualified applicant: Individual or business that installs alternative fuel infrastructure

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Biorefinery Assistance

  • Administered by: Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS)

  • Annual funding: $74 million in mandatory spending for FY2009, $245 million for FY2010; authorization of an additional $150 million annually for FY2009- FY2012

  • FY2010 Appropriation: $245 million to guarantee $691 million in loans

  • Established: 2008 by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §9001 (P.L. 110-246)

  • Scheduled termination: End of FY2012

  • Description: Grants to biorefineries that use renewable biomass to reduce or eliminate fossil fuel use.

  • Qualified applicant: Biorefineries in existence at the date of enactment.

  • For more information: See RBS website

Repowering Assistance

  • Administered by: RBS

  • Annual funding: $35 million in mandatory funding for FY2009, to remain available until expended, plus $15 million authorized annually for FY2009 through FY2012

  • FY2010 Appropriation: None ($35 million in FY2009)

  • Established: 2008 by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §9001 (P.L. 110-246)

  • Scheduled termination: End of FY2012

  • Description: Grants to biorefineries that use renewable biomass to reduce or eliminate fossil fuel use. RBS issued a Notice of Funding Availability June 12, 2009—http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/9004%20FR%20NOFA.pdf.

  • Qualified applicant: Biorefineries in existence at the date of enactment.

  • For more information: See RBS website

Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels

  • Administered by: RBS

  • Annual funding: Mandatory funding of $55 million for FY2009, $55 million for FY2010, $85 million for FY2011, and $105 million for FY2012, plus $25 million authorized annually for FY2009-FY2012

  • FY2010 Appropriation: $55 million ($30 million in FY2009)

  • Established: 2008 by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §9001 (P.L. 110-246) • Scheduled termination: End of FY2012

  • Description: Provides payments to producers to support and expand production of advanced biofuels. RBS issued a Notice of Contract Proposal June 12, 2009— http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/NOCP%20FR%209005.pdf

  • Qualified applicant: Producer of advanced biofuels

  • For more information: See RBS website

Feedstock Flexibility Program for Producers of Biofuels (Sugar)

  • Administered by: Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC)

  • Annual funding: Such sums as necessary are authorized to be appropriated—no appropriation to date

  • FY2010 Appropriation: None

  • Established: 2008 by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §9001 (P.L. 110-246)

  • Scheduled termination: None

  • Description: Authorizes the use of CCC funds to purchase surplus sugar, to ensure the sugar program operates at no-net-cost, to be resold as a biomass feedstock to produce bioenergy.

  • Qualified applicant: Producer of biofuels using eligible sugar as a feedstock

Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)

  • Administered by: Farm Service Agency (FSA)

  • Annual funding: Commodity payment—depends on the number of applications; through October 19, 2010, approximately $243 million had been paid out to projects in 30 states for FY2009 and FY2010

  • Established: 2008 by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §9001 (P.L. 110-246)

  • Scheduled termination: End of FY2012

  • Description: Dollar-for-dollar matching payments for collection, harvesting, storage, and transportation (CHST) of biomass to qualified biofuel production facilities (as well as bioenergy or biobased products), up to $45 per ton

  • Qualified applicant: Person who delivers eligible biomass to a qualified facility

  • For more information: See FSA website

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

  • Administered by: RBS

  • Annual funding: $255 million total in mandatory spending from FY2009- FY2012; an additional authorization of $25 million annually for FY2009- FY2012

  • FY2010 Appropriation: $99.4 million in discretionary and mandatory spending to cover $19.7 million in grants and $388 million in loans ($60 million in FY2009 to cover $30 million in grants and $300 million in loans)

  • Established: 2008 by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §9001 (P.L. 110-246)

  • Scheduled termination: End of FY2012

  • Description: This program replaced the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program in the 2002 farm bill. The program provides grants and loans for a variety of rural energy projects, including efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects. Although REAP is not exclusively aimed at biofuels projects, the program could be a significant source of loan funds for such projects.

Biomass Research and Development

  • Administered by: National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

  • Annual funding: $118 million total mandatory spending for FY2009-FY2012; up to $35 million additional discretionary funding annually

  • FY2010 Appropriation: $28 million ($20 million in FY2009)

  • Established: FY2001 by the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000, §307 (P.L. 106-224); program extended and mandatory appropriations provided by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, §9008 (P.L. 107-171); program extended and funding authorization expanded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §941 (P.L. 109-58); significantly modified by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, §9008 (P.L. 110-246)

  • Scheduled termination: End of FY2012

  • Description: Grants are provided for biomass research, development, and demonstration projects. Eligible projects include ethanol and biodiesel demonstration plants.

  • Qualified applicant: Wide range of possible applicants

  • For more information:See Biomass Research and Development Home Page

Other USDA Programs

The following programs within the Rural Business Cooperative Service could possibly be used to assist biofuels producers indirectly:

  • Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loans

  • Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG)

  • Value-Added Grants

  • Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Programs

Department of Energy (DOE)

Biorefinery Project Grants

  • Administered by: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

  • Annual funding: Approximately $200 million appropriated annually for the biomass program—not all of this funding will go toward biorefinery project grants

  • FY2010 Appropriation: $220 million for entire biomass program

  • Established: FY2001 through funding authorized in various statutes

  • Scheduled termination: None

  • Description: This program provides funds for cooperative biomass research and development for the production of fuels, electric power, chemicals, and other products.

  • Qualified applicant: Varies from year to year, depending on program goals in a given year

  • For more information: See DOE Biomass Program

Loan Guarantees for Ethanol and Commercial Byproducts from Cellulose, Municipal Solid Waste, and Sugar Cane

  • Administered by: DOE

  • Annual funding: Not specified

  • FY2010 Appropriation: $0

  • Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §§1510, 1511, and 1516 (P.L. 109-58)

  • Scheduled termination: Varies, depending on specific program

  • Description: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes several programs to provide loan guarantees for the construction of facilities that produce ethanol and other commercial products from cellulosic material, municipal solid waste, or sugar cane.

  • Qualified applicant: Private lending institutions, to guarantee loans for the construction of biofuels plants

DOE Loan Guarantee Program

  • Administered by: DOE

  • Annual funding: $5.4 million for administrative expenses in FY2008; authority for $51 billion in loan guarantees for energy projects in FY2008, including $10 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency; $6 billion additional FY2009 appropriation to cover $49 billion in loans to all projects (not just biofuels)

  • FY2010 Appropriation: $43 million for administrative expenses—to be offset by loan application fees

  • Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Title XVII (P.L. 109-58)

  • Scheduled termination: Not specified

  • Description: Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes DOE to provide loan guarantees for energy projects that reduce air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, including biofuels projects.

  • Qualified applicant: Private lending institutions, to guarantee loans for clean energy projects.

  • For more information: DOE Loans Program Office

Cellulosic Ethanol Reserve Auction

  • Administered by: DOE

  • Annual funding: $1 billion total authorized for all fiscal years; not more than $100 million may be paid in any given year

  • FY2010 Appropriation: None; $5 million in FY2008 for administrative expenses

  • Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §942 (P.L. 109-58)

  • Scheduled termination: Not specified

  • Description: Section 942 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes DOE to provide per-gallon incentive payments for cellulosic biofuels until annual U.S. production reaches 1 billion gallons or 2015, whichever is earlier. DOE finalized regulations on October 15, 2009. See: Production Incentives for Cellulosic Biofuels; Reverse Auction Procedures and Standards

  • Qualified applicant: Any U.S. cellulosic biofuel production facility that meets applicable requirements.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)— Import Duty for Fuel Ethanol

  • Administered by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

  • Annual funding: N/A

  • Established: 1980 by the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-499); amended by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, §423 (P.L. 99-514) extended by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, §302 (P.L. 109-432); further extended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, §15333 (P.L. 110-246), and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312), §708

  • Scheduled termination: December 31, 2011

  • Description: A 2.5% ad valorem tariff and a most-favored-nation duty of $0.54 per gallon of ethanol (for fuel use) applies to imports into the United States from most countries; most ethanol from Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) countries may be imported duty-free.

  • Covered Entities: Fuel ethanol importers

  • For more information: CRS Report RS21930, Ethanol Imports and the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), by Brent D. Yacobucci; Senate Finance Committee, Summary of House-Senate Agreement on Tax, Trade, Health, and Other Provisions, December 7, 2006.

Department of Transportation (DOT)— Manufacturing Incentive for Flexible Fuel Vehicles

  • Administered by: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

  • Annual funding: N/A

  • Established: 1975 by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (P.L. 94- 163); amended by various statutes, most recently the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, §109 (P.L. 110-140)

  • Scheduled termination: After model year 2019

  • Description: Automakers are required to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for their passenger cars and light trucks. Manufacturers may gain credits for the sale of alternative fuel vehicles, including ethanol/gasoline flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). However, the credits are limited—the maximum fuel economy increase allowed through the use of these credits is 1.2 miles per gallon through model year (MY) 2014. The credits are phased out after MY2014 and are completely eliminated after MY2019.


Appendix. Summary of Federal Incentives Promoting Biofuels

Table A-1. Federal Biofuels Incentives by Agency

Administering
Agency
Program Description Original
Authorizing
Legislation
FY2010
Appropriation
Expiration
Date
Environmental
Protection
Agency
 
Renewable
Fuel
Standard
Mandated use of renewable
fuel in gasoline: 4.0 billion
gallons in 2006, increasing to
36 billion gallons in 2022
P.L. 109-58
§1501
N/A None
Revenue Service
Volumetric
Ethanol
Excise Tax
Credit
Gasoline suppliers who blend
ethanol with gasoline are
eligible for a tax credit of 45
cents per gallon of ethanol
P.L. 108-357
§301
N/A End of 2011
  Small Ethanol
Producer
Credit
An ethanol producer with
less than 60 million gallons
per year in production
capacity may claim a credit of
10 cents per gallon on the
first 15 million gallons
produced in a year
P.L. 101-508 N/A End of 2011
  Biodiesel Tax
Credit
Producers of biodiesel or
diesel/biodiesel blends may
claim a tax credit of $1.00
per gallon of biodiesel.
P.L. 108-357 N/A End of 2011
  Small Agri-
Biodiesel
Producer
Credit
An agri-biodiesel (produced
from virgin agricultural
products) producer with less
than 60 million gallons per
year in production capacity
may claim a credit of 10 cents
per gallon on the first 15
million gallons produced in a
year
P.L. 109-58 N/A End of 2011
  Renewable
Diesel Tax
Credit
Producers of renewable
diesel (similar to biodiesel,
but produced through a
different process) may claim a
tax credit of $1.00 per gallon
of renewable diesel
P.L. 109-58 N/A End of 2011
  Credit for
Production
of Cellulosic
Biofuel
Producers of cellulosic biofuel
may claim a tax credit of
$1.01 per gallon. For
cellulosic ethanol producers,
the value of the production
tax credit is reduced by the
value of the volumetric
ethanol excise tax credit and
the small ethanol producer
credit—the credit is currently
valued at 46 cents per gallon.
The credit applies to fuel
produced after December 31,
2008.
P.L. 110-246 N/A End of 2012
  Special
Depreciation
Allowance
for Cellulosic
Biofuel Plant
Property
Plants producing cellulosic
biofuels may take a 50%
depreciation allowance in the
first year of operation,
subject to certain restrictions
P.L. 109-432 N/A End of 2012
  Alternative
Fueling
Station
Credit
A credit of up to $30,000 is
available for the installation of
alternative fuel infrastructure,
including E85 (85% ethanol
and 15% gasoline) pumps
P.L. 109-58
§1342
N/A End of 2011
Department of
Agriculture
 
Biorefinery
Assistance
Loan guarantees and grants
for the construction and
retrofitting of biorefineries to
produce advanced biofuels
P.L. 110-246
§9001
$245 million to
guarantee $691
million in loans
End of
FY2012
  Repowering
Assistance
Grants to biorefineries that
use renewable biomass to
reduce or eliminate fossil fuel
use
P.L. 110-246
§9001
$35 million in
FY2009
End of
FY2012
  Bioenergy
Program for
Advanced
Biofuels
Provides payments to
producers to support and
expand production of
advanced biofuels
P.L. 110-246
§9001
$55 million End of
FY2012
  Flexibility
Program for
Producers of
Biofuels
(Sugar)
Authorizes the use of CCC
funds to purchase surplus
sugar, to be resold as a
biomass feedstock to
produce bioenergy
P.L. 110-246
§9001
No
appropriation
to date
None
  Crop
Assistance
Program
(BCAP)
Provides financial assistance
for biomass crop
establishment costs and
annual payments for biomass
production; also provides
payments to assist with costs
for biomass collection,
harvest, storage, and
transportation
P.L. 110-246
§9001
Dollar-fordollar
commodity
payment—
approximately
$244 million
paid out for
FY2009 and
FY2010
End of
FY2012
  Rural Energy
for America
Program
(REAP)
Loan guarantees and grants
for a wide range of rural
energy projects, including
biofuels.
P.L. 110-246
§9001
$99.4 million to
cover $19.7
million in grants
and $388
million in loan
guarantees
End of
FY2012
  Biomass Research and
Development
Grants for biomass research,
development, and
demonstration projects
P.L. 106-224 $28 million End of
FY2015
Department of
Energy
 
Biorefinery
Project
Grants
Funds cooperative R&D on
biomass for fuels, power,
chemicals, and other
products
Various
statutes
$220 million
total for
biomass
program
None
  Loan
Guarantees
for Ethanol
and
Commercial
Byproducts
from Various
Feedstocks
Several programs of loan
guarantees to construct
facilities that produce ethanol
and other commercial
products from cellulosic
material, municipal solid
waste, and/or sugarcane
P.L. 109-58
§§1510, 1511,
and 1516
No
appropriation
to date
Varies
  DOE Loan
Guarantee
Program
Loan guarantees for energy
projects that reduce air
pollutant and greenhouse gas
emissions, including biofuels
projects
P.L. 109-58
Title XVII

$43 million
FY2010
appropriation
to be offset by
loan fees

Approximately
$100 billion in
loan authority
from FY2008
and FY2009
appropriations;
$10 billion in
loan authority
for renewable
energy and
energy
efficiency

None
  Cellulosic
Ethanol
Reserve
Auction
Authorizes DOE to provide
per-gallon payments to
cellulosic biofuel producers
P.L. 109-58
§942

No FY2010
appropriation

$5 million in
FY2008 for
administrative
expenses

August 8,
2015
U.S. Customs
and Border
Protection
Import Duty
for Fuel
Ethanol
All imported ethanol is
subject to a 2.5% ad valorem
tariff; fuel ethanol is also
subject to a most-favorednation
added duty of 54 cents
per gallon (with some
exceptions)
P.L. 96-499 N/A End of 2011
Department of
Transportation
Flexible Fuel
Vehicle
Production
Incentive
Automakers subject to
Corporate Average Fuel
Economy (CAFE) standards
may accrue credits under that
program for the production
and sale of alternative fuel
vehicles, including
ethanol/gasoline flexible fuel
vehicles (FFVs)
P.L. 94-163 N/A Incentive
expires
after model
year 2019

Source: CRS.

Attached Files

R40110.pdf
Glossary

Citation

Service, C. (2012). Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51dac6ab594861252800069a