Dear Administrator Regan:

National Taxpayers Union (NTU), R Street Institute, and Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) provide the following comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposal entitled “Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Renewable Fuel Standard Annual Rules,” which was published at 86 Federal Register 72436 on Dec. 21, 2021. Our organizations support free markets and policies that serve the best interests of American taxpayers.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments on this proposed rule, which will dictate the level of biofuels consumed in our nation’s fuel supply in 2022 and retroactively set volumes for 2020 and 2021.

Our organizations have long been critics of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, because of the federal mandate’s increased costs for taxpayers and consumers, which were highlighted in comments on previous Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) proposals. In addition, in 2019, NTU and TCS commented on the once-finalized but later halted expansion of 15 percent ethanol (E15). We have opposed biofuels and biomass subsidies due to their market distortions and failure to meet intended goals, such as significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Numerous other long-term liabilities and costs have been spurred by the RFS and other biofuels subsidies including:  1) picking winners and losers, 2) driving up food and fuel costs, and 3) influencing crop production decisions. The latter has led to the conversion of millions of acres of carbon-rich wetlands, grasslands, and forests to biofuels feedstock production.  

We appreciate EPA’s recognition of some of these costs and long-term liabilities in the proposed RVO rule (and corresponding draft Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA)), but the following comments provide reasons why RFS volumes should be further reduced:  

For these and other reasons, we urge EPA to lower biofuel volumes for 2022 to levels that do not impose additional costs or burdens on taxpayers or consumers. Otherwise, not only will the RFS’s goals fail to be met, but the mandate will do more harm than good for the climate, water and soil quality, wildlife habitat, and much more, as EPA is beginning to recognize. This will place additional burdens on consumers and taxpayers and expand the negative impacts of a program that works at cross purposes with other federal initiatives aimed at climate mitigation, agricultural conservation, and other public goals. Furthermore, forcing more biofuels into the marketplace leads to other taxpayer costs, such as biofuels infrastructure subsidies which do nothing to mitigate long-term climate risks.

We thank you for considering our comments on the 2020-2022 proposed RVOs. These comments should also be taken into account as EPA contemplates future RVOs. Please let us know if you have any questions.


Pete Sepp
National Taxpayers Union

Nan Swift
R Street Institute

Steve Ellis
Taxpayers for Common Sense

Featured Publications