Understanding the RFS

What it is

Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand U.S. renewable fuels, reducing independence on foreign oil. This effort is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which, in simple terms, sets the amount of renewable fuel sold in the U.S. – including biodiesel.

Biodiesel is a powerful, clean-burning and renewable fuel produced from domestic resources, including soybean oil. Biodiesel creates a sizable market for Illinois soybeans: A recent checkoff-funded study found biodiesel contributed to an $18.8 billion increase in soybean oil revenues between 2006 and 2014.

A quick glimpse at the targets: Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements for 2014-2019:

  • 1.63 billion gallons in 2014
  • 1.73 billion gallons in 2015
  • 1.90 billion gallons in 2016
  • 2.00 billion gallons in 2017
  • 2.10 billion gallons in 2018
  • 2.10 billion gallons in 2019

Advocating for biodiesel

The Illinois Soybean Growers’ Voice for Soy legislative action network activates producers and others to voice their needs to regulators on issues such as this. Producers are so passionate about RFS, they took action the most on this topic more than any other issue shared through Voice for Soy.


Biodiesel is an excellent market for Illinois soybeans. Yet, the RFS is way below production levels. Approximately 2.9 billion gallons of biodiesel were produced in 2016. Three years later, in 2019, the RFS cap is still below production capacity at 2.10 billion gallons.

Biodiesel is not only a profitable product for producers, it’s good for the environment and other business owners as well. Read more here.