Renewable Diesel Faqs

Following are the Frequently Asked Questions about Renewable Diesel.

1. What qualifies as a renewable fuel?

Generally, renewable fuels must be produced from plant or animal products or wastes, as opposed to fossil fuel sources.  Valid renewable fuels include:

–          ethanol made from starch seeds, sugar, or cellulosic materials;

–          biodiesel (mono-alkyl esters); and

–          Non-ester renewable diesel.

2. How does the Energy Policy Act define renewable fuel?

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (AKA “2005 Energy Act”) defined “Renewable Diesel” as diesel fuel derived from biomass using a thermal depolymerization process that meets:

  1. The registration requirements for fuel and fuel additives established by the EPA under Section 211 of the Clean Air Act
  2. The requirements of the American Society of Testing (“ASTM”) D-975 (for petroleum diesel fuel) or D-396 (for home heating oil).
3. How will renewable fuel affect air quality?

EPA estimates that the RFS program will cut petroleum use by up to 3.9 billion gallons and greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 13.1 million metric tons annually by 2012 – the equivalent of eliminating the greenhouse-gas emissions of 2.3 million cars.

 4. Will renewable fuel differ in smell or appearance?

The addition of renewable fuel to gasoline or diesel fuel might affect the appearance or odor of the fuel, but it should not affect its quality or performance.

5. Are all refiners required to produce renewable fuel blends?

Most refiners, blenders, and importers are required to use a minimum volume of renewable fuel each year beginning Sept. 1, 2007, and each year thereafter. Alternatively, they must buy credits from other companies that choose to use more than their required minimum volume. That minimum volume is determined as a percentage of the total volume of motor-vehicle fuel a company produces or imports, and will increase every year.

6. Will renewable fuel be more expensive than conventional fuel?

No one can predict with certainty the price of fuel at the pump. Many factors affect the sales price including production costs, crude oil’s prices, taxes, inventory levels, and supply and demand. Geopolitical factors, weather, transportation, and economic events can also affect the sales price. Visit the Energy Information Administration for more information on fuel prices.

7. What is RFS?

RFS stands for Renewable Fuel Standard; a program implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase our nation’s use of renewable fuels.

8. What is RINs?

RINs stands for Renewable Identification Number System. RIN in central to the RFS program and it is the currency for the RFS program for credits, trading, and use by obligated parties and renewable fuel exporters to demonstrate compliance as well as track the volumes of renewable fuels.

A RIN is a 38-character numeric code that is generated by the producer or importer of renewable fuel representing gallons of renewable fuel produced/imported and assigned to batches of renewable fuel that are transferred (change of ownership) to others. RINs are valid for the calendar-generated or the following year.

A RIN code represents several pieces of information including:

    • (K) = whether or not a RIN is assigned to a batch of fuel (1=assigned / 2=unassigned)
    • (YYYY) = Year the batch is produced/imported
    • (CCCC) = Producing/importing company’s registration information
    • (FFFFF) = Production facility registration information
    • (BBBBB) = Producer assigned batch number
    • (RR) = Equivalence Value for the renewable fuel (eg. biodiesel is 1.5 = “15”)
    • (D) = Renewable type code (1=cellulosic ethanol / 2=non cellulosic ethanol fuel)
    • (SSSSSSSS) = RIN block starting number
    • (EEEEEEEE) = RIN block ending number


To get more information on RINs and RFS, click here to be directed to the EPA website.

9. How do I establish the RFS value for my fuel?
Fuel RINs
1 gallon corn ethanol 1 gallon – RINs
1 gallon biobutanol 1.3 gallon – RINs
1 gallon biodiesel – mono-alkylester 1.5 gallon – RINs
1 gallon non-ester renewable diesel 1.7 gallon – RINs
1 gallon cellulosic ethanol 2.5 gallon – RINs
1 gallon waste-derived ethanol 2.5 gallon – RINs
10. What is the Executive Order for the use and production of biofuels?

The order states that California shall produce a minimum of 20 percent of its biofuels within California by 2010, 40 percent by 2020, and 75 percent by 2050

11. What is the Executive Order for Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS)?

The Order is to reduce at least 10 percent of the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuels by 2020. Early action item with a regulation to be adopted and implemented by 2010.