RFS Small Refiner Exemptions Policy

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduces RFS obligations by hundreds of millions of gallons by granting retroactive exemptions to oil refiners. Refiners are allowed to sell or carry forward returned RIN credits, reaping a windfall while destroying demand for biofuels in the present year.

In the 2020 RFS rule finalized in December 2019, EPA recognized its duty to ensure the RFS volumes it sets each year are not reduced through these exemptions.

In January 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that EPA "opened a gaping and ever-widening hole" in the RFS program by abusing these exemptions. The court limited EPA's authority to grant exemptions only in cases where the RFS is the direct cause of hardship.

Clean Fuels is monitoring EPA as it considers small refinery exemption petitions -- there are pending petitions for every year 2011-2020. Clean Fuels continues to pursue several legal avenues to close the gaping hole in the RFS program caused by small refinery exemptions.

Clean Fuels works with its members to advocate to EPA to ensure RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel are made whole. Clean Fuels also asks Members of Congress to exercise oversight and ensure EPA follows the law in granting small refinery exemptions.

As our members communicate with Members of Congress, EPA and other Washington policy makers, the media, and the public, Clean Fuels works with them to amplify these points:

  • Just one small refinery exemption can eliminate demand for an entire biodiesel facility. A “small” oil refinery can produce up to 3 million gallons of fuel per day. It’s annual RFS obligation for biodiesel is only 20 million gallons, which is more than some small biodiesel plants produce in a year.
  • U.S. courts consistently find that EPA fails to fully or consistently explain its small refinery exemption decisions.
  • EPA began freely handing out small refinery exemptions before receiving the Congressional directives and Court decisions they currently cite as justification.
  • EPA has ignored Department of Energy recommendations regarding whether small refinery exemptions are merited.


Focus on SRE News

Clean Fuels Applauds Chevron on the Completion of Its Acquisition of REG

Jun 13, 2022, 12:54 PM
REG’s partnership with Clean Fuels will continue as it becomes Chevron’s ‘renewable fuels business headquarters’


JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Earlier today, Clean Fuels Alliance America CEO Donnell Rehagen welcomed news that Chevron Corp. has finalized its acquisition of Renewable Energy Group, a longtime Clean Fuels Alliance America member. As the acquisition is finalized, Chad Stone of REG will continue to lead the Clean Fuels Governing Board as chair.

 “This is a meaningful acquisition for our industry and for Clean Fuels for many reasons,” said Rehagen, who noted that Iowa-based REG has been an association member since 2006. “REG has been a leader in our industry from its inception, being one of the very first companies to build a biodiesel plant in the United States. This leadership in renewable fuels, coupled with the history and strength in the energy sector Chevron brings, will continue to build on the momentum our industry is experiencing as the country continues on its path of carbon reduction through cleaner fuels.”

 With 11 biorefineries in the U.S. and Europe and more than half a billion gallons of production of biodiesel and renewable diesel, REG is also one of Clean Fuels’ largest members in terms of fuel production.

 California-based Chevron has steadily grown its clean fuels business, actively marketing its Renewable Diesel Blend at the pump in California. REG will remain headquartered in Ames, Iowa, and the team will focus on growing Chevron’s portfolio of lower carbon fuels and feedstocks. The combined company is committed to harnessing complementary cultures and proven track records of developing innovative technologies to grow its renewable fuels production capacity to 100,000 barrels per day by 2030.

 Stone, who joined the Clean Fuels board in 2015, said he was pleased to continue as board chair during this dynamic time both for REG and Clean Fuels.

 “We have been working together for decades to build this industry and never before have we seen such interest or investment in our fuels,” said Stone, who serves as senior vice president of commercial performance at REG. “I am excited to see what the future holds as we join forces to provide fuel solutions that meet the growing demand we’re seeing in the marketplace.”

To access Chevron press release, click here.

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