The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was first signed into law in 2005, requiring annually increasing volumes of renewable fuels to be used in U.S. transportation. It was renewed and expanded as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (RFS2)
to include advanced biofuels such as biomass-based diesel.
Under RFS2, Congress set specific biomass-based diesel volume requirements, starting at 500 million gallons in 2009 and rising to 1 billion gallons in 2012. Since 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set annual biomass-based diesel volumes through an analysis and rulemaking process. Congress specified that biomass-based diesel volumes should never fall below 1 billion gallons.
Biodiesel and renewable diesel are recognized as advanced biofuels under the RFS, because they achieve greenhouse gas reductions of more than 50 percent compared to petroleum diesel. Therefore, in addition to the biomass-based diesel requirement, biodiesel,
renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel and heating oil also meet the advanced and overall RFS2 obligations set by Congress and EPA. Every year since 2015, biomass-based diesel has been used to meet more than 90 percent of the annual advanced volumes. For 2023 and beyond, EPA will set annual advanced and overall RFS volumes following the same process used to set biomass-based diesel volumes over the past decade.
Since soybean oil is a major feedstock for biodiesel, the RFS has a positive impact on soybean prices. The demand for soybean oil supports 13% of the price of a bushel of soybeans, according to a 2019 study by INTL FCStone.
To get more information on the RFS and learn about NBB’s advocacy efforts on the issue, please visit the National Biodiesel Board's website.