Fuels and Fuel Additives Fuel Additives

Existing Controls

EPA issued standards in 1973 that called for a gradual phase down of lead to reduce the health risks from lead emissions from gasoline. Beginning in 1989, EPA required gasoline to meet volatility standards (in two phases) to decrease evaporative emissions of gasoline in the summer months. Upon passage of the 1990 CAA amendments, EPA began monitoring the winter oxygenated fuels program implemented by the states to help control emissions of carbon monoxide. It also established the reformulated gasoline (RFG) program, which is designed to reduce emissions of smog-forming and toxic pollutants. EPA also set requirements for gasoline to be treated with detergents and deposit control additives. More recently, EPA has set standards for low sulfur gasoline and low sulfur diesel, which will help ensure the effectiveness of low emission-control technologies in vehicles and reduce harmful air pollution.

Renewable Fuel Standards

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program was created under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 and it established the first renewable fuel volume mandate in the United States. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set these RFS volume requirements annually, based on the statutory targets. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) further amended the CAA by expanding the RFS program. EISA requires EPA to evaluate and, in some cases, adjust the standards.

EPA establishes the standards through a notice-and-comment rulemaking process with opportunity for public comment and stakeholder engagement.

  • The Clean Air Act requires the standards be finalized by November 30th of the year preceding the compliance year.

  • For the cellulosic standard, EPA sets cellulosic standard based on EIA projections, EPA's own market assessment, and on information obtained from the notice and comment process.

  • For the biomass-based diesel standard, EPA must determine the applicable volume of biomass-based diesel at least 14 months prior to the year in which the volume will be required. 


EISA's four renewable fuel standards are nested within each other. This means, the fuel with a higher GHG reduction threshold can be used to meet the standards for a lower GHG reduction threshold. For example, fuels or RINs for advanced biofuel (i.e., cellulosic, biodiesel or sugarcane ethanol) can be used to meet the total renewable fuel standards (i.e., corn ethanol).

The current and past standards can be viewed here.

Reporting for Fuels Programs

A variety of EPA Fuels Programs require submission of forms by manufacturers and importers of gasoline, diesel fuel (including biodiesel) and fuel additives. Some forms are used for registration of companies, facilities, and products while others are used for compliance reporting. Requirements and instructions for reporting can be found on EPA's Fuel Reporting page. For example, gasoline and diesel refiners and importers, most renewable fuel producers and importers, and all parties who own RINs are required to report in two ways to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

More Information

U.S. EPA: Fuels and Fuel Additives. Background and summary information, related regulations, fact sheets, contacts, and other relevant resources.