Policies to increase sustainable aviation fuel need to consider the ramifications of existing low-carbon fuel options

ALEXANDRIAVa. , November 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — NATSO, representing travel hubs and truck stops, and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers, have called on the US Department of Energy (DOE) to adopt a market-driven, technology-neutral approach to transportation decarbonization. Any policy to scale up sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production must carefully consider the economy-wide ramifications of prioritizing emerging fuel technologies over long-standing, lower-carbon fuel options such as biodiesel and renewable diesel.

Retailers and fuel marketers appreciate the fact that the Biden administration is prioritizing alternative fuel strategies to reduce carbon emissions from transportation. But the administration’s approach to increasing SAF production ignores the harmful side effects on the existing refueling environment. NATSO and SIGMA, in response to a request for information, called on the Department of Energy to use the decarbonization benefits of renewable diesel and biodiesel instead of pursuing policies that will destroy demand for on-road biofuels that have been reducing terrestrial emissions for decades.

“The Biden administration must not give up the market’s ability to deliver drastic short-term emissions savings by forcing a rapid top-down transition to a single technology,” NATSO and SIGMA wrote in their comments to the Department of Energy. “The administration should exploit the short-term decarbonisation potential of low-carbon options such as biodiesel and renewable diesel, in addition to driving more ambitious long-term technologies.”

Preferential treatment of the SAF to reduce transport carbon emissions will destroy decades of road transport carbon reductions, while increasing fuel prices for commercial fleets.

SAF production is more energy-intensive and saves less carbon emissions than renewable diesel, according to a study conducted by LMC International titled “Comparative Economic Analysis of Renewable Jet Fuel and Renewable Diesel.” Because these fuels compete for the same feedstock, prioritizing SAF will undermine and ultimately eliminate the US biodiesel and renewable diesel market as disproportionate pressure is placed on the feedstock.

The transportation industry delivers more than 80 percent of America’s goods and relies on biofuels, including renewable diesel and biodiesel, to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Biofuels represent the best opportunity to reduce carbon emissions from the country’s existing commercial truck fleet for the foreseeable future.

Biodiesel and renewable diesel eliminated 15 million metric tons of CO2 in California in 2020 alone, which equates to removing more than 3 million passenger cars from the road. Compared to petroleum-based diesel, renewable diesel and biodiesel reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent. The California Air Resources Board recently highlighted their important role in reducing carbon emissions by announcing that renewable diesel and biodiesel account for more than half of diesel supply in California.

By implementing strategies that promote parity between renewable road and aviation fuels competing for the same feedstock, the Administration has the opportunity to lower the cost of fuel for fleets and commercial drivers and ensure fuel market stability. while achieving its goal of reducing the carbon footprint of transport. One such strategy is for the Treasury Department to subject SAF to more stringent life-cycle GHG emissions modeling requirements under the tax credits introduced under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

NATSO, SIGMA comments to Department of Energy

Setting the record straight for the critical role of modern renewable liquid fuels in reducing road transport emissions.

NATO is the trade association of the American touring car and truck industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information for the diverse tourist plaza and truck stop industry; provides training to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate. For more information, visit Contact: Tiffany Wlazlowski Neumannvice president, public relations.

SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Dealers represents a diverse membership of approximately 260 independent chain retailers and motor fuel dealers. While 67 percent are engaged in gasoline retail, 83 percent are engaged in wholesale, 56 percent are engaged in transportation products, 39 percent have bulk installations and 20 percent operate terminals. Member outlets come in many forms, including truck stops, traditional ‘gas stations’, convenience stores with gas pumps, card lockers and unattended public fueling locations.

Contact: Tiffany Wlazlowski Neumann, Vice President, Public Affairs


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