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Biden Administration Studies If EVs Can Enter Biofuel Credit Program

The U.S. Administration has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give an opinion on whether charging electric vehicles with renewable biogas could become part of the biofuel credits program, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the plans.

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in the United States, oil refiners are required to blend growing amounts of renewable fuels into gasoline and diesel. Refiners that don’t have the infrastructure to blend biofuels must purchase tradeable blending credits known as Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs.  

According to Reuters’ sources, renewable sources of methane-producing electricity that is used to charge electric cars could be part of the Renewable Fuel Standard if it were to include EVs.

Yet, it is not clear yet how renewable fuels used for electricity would be traced or which stakeholder along the supply chain would claim those credits.

“There’s going to be a big fight between biomass producers, charging station operators and EV carmakers like Tesla over who gets custody of the RIN,” one of the sources told Reuters.

The Renewable Fuel Standard is already dividing the oil and corn lobbies in the United States. Adding EVs could create further confusion, despite the Administration’s best efforts to support renewables and speed up the uptake of electric vehicles.

Although President Joe Biden has vowed to replace the almost 650,000-strong federal vehicle fleet with electric cars and ordered a review on the Trump Administration’s fuel economy standards, the Biden Administration has neither set nor pledged to set a date for phasing out new gasoline car sales.

Last month, two Democratic Senators from California urged the Biden Administration to follow California’s lead and set a date for phasing out new sales of gasoline and diesel-powered cars. In September 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to ban the sales of new passenger vehicles with internal combustion engines from 2035 in the state’s latest push towards a cleaner energy future.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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