Table of Contents

The Law and Policy of Biofuels

The Law and Policy of Biofuels

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Edited by Yves Le Bouthillier, Annette Cowie, Paul Martin and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray

In the last twenty years the biofuels industry has developed rapidly in many regions of the world. This book provides an in-depth and critical study of the law and policies in many of the key biofuels producing countries, such as Brazil, China, the US, as well as the EU, and a number of other countries where this industry is quickly developing. The multidisciplinary contributors examine the roles of the public and private sectors in the governance of biofuels. They propose recommendations for more effective and efficient biofuel policies.

Chapter 5: United States law and policy and the biofuel industry

Kristina S. Dahmann, Lara B. Fowler and Paul M. Smith

Subjects: environment, energy policy and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, energy law, environmental law


In the development of a new industry like biofuels, stable long-term policy is a key factor to reach commercialization of alternative fuel production. In the United States, relatively stable and consistent policy is one factor that enabled ethanol as the first-generation alternative fuel to grow “dramatically” to 175 million gallons by 1980, to nearly 5 billion gallons by 2006, and to more than 14 billion gallons by 2014. Today, however, ethanol’s integration into the transportation fuel supply is said to be limited by the “blend wall”. At the same time, alternative second-generation biofuels have struggled to reach commercial-scale production largely because of uncertainty of future policies, high cost of production, the capital required to initiate a project, and a myriad of technical, environmental and social issues. The uncertainty is caused in part by the Renewable Fuel Standard’s fluctuating biofuel production mandates set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In particular, US law and policy for advanced biofuels has not provided adequate stimulus to foster predictable development and commercialization of the biofuel industry.

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