Our 2023 Outlook for Renewable Fuels: 6 Factors Signaling Continued Growth

Last year we wrote about how greenhouse gases would remain a hot topic and that we expected work truck fleets to continue to see biodiesel as a top alternative fuel choice. As we look ahead to 2023, we wanted to share six factors that we expect will have a big impact on the continued trajectory of the renewable fuels sector in 2023.

1. Renewable Fuel Standard proposes to increase volume mandates

Under the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposed by the Biden administration, obligated parties will be mandated to add nearly two billion additional gallons of biofuels to their fuels over the next three years, totaling 22.68 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2025. The law also expands the EPA’s authority for 2023 and beyond, giving the agency additional decision-making power to set multi-year mandates. While this is inclusive of traditional biofuels like ethanol, the increase is most impactful to advanced biofuels like biodiesel, requiring 5.82 billion gallons in 2023, 6.62 billion gallons in 2024 and 7.43 billion gallons in 2025.1

2. Inflation Reduction Act intends to expand funding for renewable fuels

The renewable fuels sector stands to benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in August 2022 in several ways, including:

  • The biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credits that were originally set to expire on December 31, 2022 have been extended to the end of 2024, providing a blending credit for both fuels. 2
  • The Clean Fuel Production Credit will be a brand-new credit available from 2025 to 2027, that will provide producers of eligible fuels, including biodiesel, a credit for each gallon produced, which is determined by the fuel’s carbon intensity (CI) score. The lower the CI, the higher the per-gallon credit — which bodes well for biodiesel. 2
  • New Biofuel Infrastructure Grants will make $100 million in grants available in 2023 to increase the sale and use of biofuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. The grants will support a variety of fueling operations, including filling stations, convenience stores, rail and marine facilities, and fuel distribution facilities such as terminal operations. The grants will cover up to 50% of eligible project costs.3 While the application deadline for the immediately available $100 million in grants came to a close on November 21, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act has guaranteed additional funding for this program through September 2031.2

3. Adoption of emissions reduction goals is growing in every sector

The last several years have shown immense growth in the amount of both public and private entities committing to net zero emissions goals. As of June 2022, more than one-third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies had set net zero goals (a 68% increase from 2020).4 At the same time, 29 states have released climate action plans and four additional states are in the process of developing their plans.5 At the federal level, the Biden administration has committed to reducing U.S. GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.6 Needless to say, the momentum is building and will continue building in 2023.

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4. Carriers in every mode are driven to reduce emissions

Given that the transportation and logistics sector is the largest source of GHG emissions in the U.S.,7

Trucking - Recent research from Convoy showed that 38% of small- and mid-sized trucking companies are feeling pressure to reduce their emissions. This is up from 35% in 2021.7 With cost, availability and lack of infrastructure making electric trucks a potentially challenging industry-wide solution for the foreseeable future, many trucking companies are using biodiesel— a drop-in fuel available today — to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions and to make them more attractive to their customers that are looking to do the same.

Marine - More than one-third of the major maritime shipping companies have expressed goals to reach net zero or have aligned with International Maritime Organization (IMO) goals of 50% absolute reduction by 2050.8 Some major maritime shippers have taken a stronger stance. For instance, Maersk, one of the largest ocean shippers in the world, has pledged to reach net zero by 2040.9

Rail - The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is currently calling for railroad operators and manufacturers to join its commitment to reach net zero by 2050.10 Many of the class 1 railroads have joined the commitment or set even more aggressive targets for themselves. For instance, Amtrak is aiming for net zero by 2045,11 Union Pacific by 2050,12 and CN by 2050.13 Both Union Pacific and CN are currently working with Chevron Renewable Energy Group to demonstrate the value of biodiesel toward reaching their goals.

In 2022, Chevron Renewable Energy Group introduced an extensive line of fuel solutions, EnDura FuelsTM, to help company’s meet their lower carbon and profitability goals. These high-quality, lower carbon fuel solutions can help the transportation industry reduce CO2 GHG emissions. These products include:

  • InfiniD™: High-quality biodiesel for use in conventional diesel applications.
  • PuriD™: Produced using advanced refining processes and testing procedures to meet Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s next-generation quality standards.
  • VelociD™: is an ultra-high Cetane renewable diesel fuel. 
  • UltraClean BlenD™: A proprietary, renewable fuel combination of VelociD™ and PuriD™ that allows for a reduced carbon intensity today in virtually any diesel application.

Regardless of mode, transportation and logistics companies are increasingly being asked to report on carbon reduction initiatives as part of the RFP process with shippers. Chevron Renewable Energy Group can play a vital role in this by providing customers with monthly emissions reductions reports.  

5. Availability at the pump will continue growing

Chevron Renewable Energy Group has significantly expanded its retail and cardlock presence throughout the country in the last several years through a series of acquisitions and strategic partnerships. Chevron Renewable Energy Group acquired Amber Resources and Dawson Oil in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and has continued strategic partnerships with Hunt & Sons, Inc., Bains 99 Highway Store, Cosby Oil and others. With the added resources and downstream infrastructure brought to the table by Chevron, 2023 is sure to increase the availability of EnDura FuelsTM at the pump. Additionally, the abundance of new Biofuel Infrastructure Grants will likely spur new downstream investment to make biodiesel even more accessible across the country.

6. Higher blends will continue gaining traction

There was once a time when original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were a barrier to adoption of biodiesel, as concerns over engine performance and potential voiding of engine warranties were commonly cited obstacles. Today, however, nearly every major OEM across on- and off-road industries accept biodiesel at some level of blend — most commonly up to B20. But the door is opening for acceptance of much higher blends thanks to major players like Case New Holland (CNH) and John Deere accepting B100 in many models.14

At the same time, the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) passed in 2021 continues to offer funding for infrastructure development that will bring higher blends of both ethanol and biodiesel to the pump.18 Specifically, the funding will support infrastructure development for blend levels above B5.

States are also moving toward higher blends, with the Illinois and Iowa legislatures passing bills in 2022 that expanded existing biodiesel incentives. The laws will go into effect on January 1, 2023, and incentivize higher blends of biodiesel – including the nation’s first B30 incentive from the Iowa bill. The Missouri legislature also passed a new biodiesel incentive in 2022 that will go into effect on January 1, 2023. 

2023 looks bright

Between the regulatory landscape, the availability of new incentives and grants, the ever-growing list of public and private-sector entities with net zero goals, and the downstream infrastructure and resources of Chevron — we expect that 2023 will be an exciting year for Chevron Renewable Energy Group, and for the renewable fuels sector as a whole.

Our combined company now offers an expanded suite of cost-effective, lower carbon solutions, utilizing existing fleets and infrastructure to deliver our solutions across the world and meet the growing demand.

How can Chevron Renewable Energy Group help you transition?

Contact us to discuss how we can be your lower carbon partner in 2023.

Sources:

1.      https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-epa-propose-boost-biofuel-blending-volumes-sources-2022-12-01/

2.      https://cleanfuels.org/news-events/news-releases/2022/08/08/clean-fuels-thanks-senate-for-extending-tax-incentives-infrastructure-funding

3.      https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/08/23/usda-begins-accepting-applications-100-million-biofuel

4.      https://zerotracker.net/insights/pr-net-zero-stocktake-2022

5.      https://www.c2es.org/document/climate-action-plans

6.      https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/30/fact-sheet-health-sector-leaders-join-biden-administrations-pledge-to-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-50-by-2030

7.      https://convoy.com/blog/sustainability-trucking-report-march-2022/

8.      https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/wake-up-call-for-shipping-only-third-have-decarbonization-pledges

9.      https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/maersk-withdraws-from-board-membership-at-ics-citing-climate-goals

10.    https://railroads.dot.gov/newsroom/press-releases/federal-railroad-administration-announces-climate-challenge-meet-net-zero-0

11.    https://media.amtrak.com/2022/09/amtrak-aims-to-achieve-net-zero-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-2045/

12.    https://www.up.com/media/releases/climate-action-plan-nr-221115.htm

13.    https://www.cn.ca/en/news/2021/12/cn-recognized-with-prestigious-a-score-for-climate-change/

14. https://www.biodiesel.org/docs/default-source/fact-sheets/oem-support-summary.pdf?sfvrsn=4e0b4862_12