Biofuel Mandates 2011

To transition away from petroleum-based transportation fuels to clean and renewable fuels, 36 countries had mandates in effect by 2011 for the use of biofuels.

Four more countries have put mandates partially in place, according to a 2010 report by the Global Biofuels Center. In addition, some governments,
notably the United States and the European Union, have adopted far-reaching goals for the coming decade that set usage goals and address the role of advanced biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mandates vary widely. In most cases current mandates call for fuel blends with a percentage of ethanol and biodiesel that typically come from traditional sources, primarily corn and sugarcane (ethanol), and rapeseed and soybeans (biodiesel). Most set a minimum percentage of biofuel to be blended into gasoline (for example, an E10 mandate
requires gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol) or biodiesel (a B3 mandate is 3 percent plant-based diesel blended with 97 percent diesel.) While not all of the 36 countries met their 2010 or earlier targets, most have been successful.

As future mandates that call for higher biofuel-blend percentages and requirements for advanced and next-generation fuels come into play, however, balancing supply and demand to meet policy ambitions is expected to become a greater challenge.

Today, the United States and Brazil dominate the world’s production of biofuels, led by ethanol. In 2009, of the nearly 20 billion gallons of ethanol produced worldwide, the U.S. produced 10.6 billion gallons, primarily from corn; Brazil produced 6.6 billion gallons from sugarcane. The next largest producers of ethanol were the EU, China, Thailand, Canada, India, Colombia, and Australia, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

Biodiesel is also produced worldwide but in much smaller amounts, with 650 million gallons produced globally in 2008. An estimated 200 countries were producing some amounts of biodiesel in 2010. The accompanying map highlights some examples of biofuels mandates and use across the globe.


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