Every year, U.S. regulators define a quota for the amount of renewable fuel that must be blended into gasoline and diesel for the domestic market. But how do refiners and importers who do not produce biofuels live up to the requirements?
RIN (Renewable Identification Number) credits represent a volume of biofuel blended into fossil fuel. They are used to ensure compliance with the annual quota for the percentage of biofuels set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This quota specifies how much biofuel must be blended into gasoline and diesel sold in the U.S. market.
When a gallon of renewable fuel is produced, it is assigned a RIN. RINs can be traded, so companies that refine, import or blend fossil fuels can buy RIN credits instead of producing renewable fuels and still meet their individual quota of biofuel. The required RIN for each company is set according to the volume of fuel the company sells in the U.S. market and are called Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO).
Specific quotas are determined for cellulosic biofuels, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuels, and total renewable fuel. For 2018, the EPA set the RVO for total renewable fuel at 19.29 billion gallons, including 288 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, and 4.29 billion gallons of advanced renewable fuel. In addition, the agency has set the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel at 2.1 billion gallons.
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