Energy Independence and Security Act

The Proposed 2014 Renewable Fuels Standards: Considering Options and Seeking Input

Today, EPA released the 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) Proposal, and we’re asking for your input on how to encourage  the production and use of renewable energy while balancing practical constraints on the pace at which the market is currently accommodating ethanol above a threshold known as the ethanol “blend wall.”

If you don’t think about energy policy every day, you might be asking yourself, “what’s a ‘blend wall’?”

The answer to that question goes back to 2007, when Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. That legislation created the RFS program, which lays the foundation for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing America’s dependence on oil by growing our nation’s renewable fuels sector.

The RFS program set a target for the renewable fuels to be blended into transportation fuel that rises each year until 2022. Ethanol generally goes into the nation’s supply of E10, gasoline with up to 10 percent ethanol that is sold across the Unites States. In the years between when Congress created that program and today, production of renewable fuels has grown rapidly, but at the same time, fuel economy improvements and other factors have pushed gasoline consumption far lower than what was expected.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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More Light for Less Money

By Brittney Gordon

As you may have already heard, our light bulbs are changing. They’ll be just as bright but use less energy, cost less, and better protect the environment. Starting in 2012, all screw-based light bulbs sold in the U.S. must meet new federal standards for energy efficiency established by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Under this law, screw-based light bulbs must use fewer watts for a similar light (a.k.a. “lumen”) output. The law’s energy efficiency standards for light bulbs will be phased in over the next three years (see chart below).

Using light bulbs that provide the same light output but take less energy to run will mean that consumers save money on their utility bills. These savings can make a real difference since lighting accounts for about 12 percent of the average household’s energy bill. Using less energy also helps protect the environment by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Another positive change we will see in 2012 is a shift in how we purchase light bulbs. Instead of looking for wattage to determine which bulb to buy, we can now look at the light bulb’s lumens. Lumens tell us how much light a bulb will provide versus Watts, which tell us how much energy the bulb uses.

The Federal Trade Commission has designed a new label that you will see on light bulb packages starting next year. These labels will tell you everything from the brightness of the bulb (lumens), estimated operating costs, how long the bulb should last and what color the light will be. Here’s a sample.

This law will not ban any one lighting technology but will provide buyers will a range of better bulb choices in a variety of colors, bulb types, and light levels, including improved incandescent bulbs, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs), and LEDs (Light Emitting Diode Light Bulbs).CFLs represent the best value for consumers today. They use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.  A CFL that has earned the ENERGY STAR can save more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of the ENERGY STAR communication team. She came to EPA one year ago after a career as a broadcast journalist.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.