Hearing scheduled on bill to sunset RFS, enact octane standard

By Erin Voegele | December 04, 2018

A house subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing Dec. 11 on the recently released discussion draft of the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act. The bill aims to sunset the Renewable Fuels Standard and enact a national octane specification.

The 34-page discussion draft of the bill was released on Nov. 21 by Reps. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and Bill Flores, R-Texas.

If enacted as currently written, the legislation would sunset the conventional biofuel requirements of the RFS as of 2023. Corn ethanol is used currently used to meet the majority of the program’s conventional biofuel requirements. For 2023 through 2032, the U.S. EPA would set RFS renewable volume requirements (RVOs) for advanced biofuel, cellulosic biofuels and biomass-based diesel at levels equal to the volume of those fuels produced during the previous calendar year. The RFS would be repealed in its entirety in 2033.

The bill also includes provisions that would require automobile manufacturers, starting in 2023, to design vehicles to operate using gasoline that has a research octane number (RON) of 95 and warrantee vehicles to operate with gasoline blends of up to E20. It would also extend the current Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to fuel blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol.  

 “This draft legislation is the culmination of three stakeholder roundtables, five subcommittee hearings, and numerous other meetings this Congress,” Shimkus said. “By comprehensively approaching federal transportation fuel policies, the draft seeks to transition from the Renewable Fuel Standard to a performance-based high-octane standard for vehicles of the future, remove barriers that limit consumer choices at the pump, and bring greater certainty to the industries affected by those policies. I look forward to a constructive and productive dialogue on this discussion draft next week so our committee can continue to develop solutions that protect the environment and provide better value to consumers.”

The House Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Shimkus, is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill at 10:00 a.m. EST on Dec. 11. The hearing was originally scheduled to be held Dec. 5 but was rescheduled by the subcommittee on Dec. 3. Information released by the committee indicates witnesses are by invitation only and will be announced at a later date. Additional information is available on the House Energy and Commerce Committee website.