Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) – Government Consultation Launched

The government has launched a consultation on proposals to increase the percentage of renewable fuels used in road transport under its Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO). The original Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) target of 12.4% which was set by Government in 2018 (with an initial deadline of 2032) was developed in response to continuing pressure to address climate change and to support the government’s aim of reaching their net zero emissions target by 2050.

The original RTFO order stipulated that suppliers of transport fuels would be obliged to demonstrate that a proportion of their supply ( i.e. 12.4%) came from renewable sources with the order covering road vehicles, tractors, recreational crafts/inland operating waterway vessels, and non-road (i.e. agricultural plant) mobile machinery.

The government has now proposed a 2.5% increase to the RTFO by 2032, and an immediate increase of 1% in 2022 as E10 is introduced, expanding RTFO coverage to include ‘recycled carbon’ (sourced from fossil waste that cannot be avoided, reused or recycled) fuels and increasing the flexibility afforded by the requirement.

Andy Eastlake, MD of Zemo Partnership, has suggested that while the RTFO sets a minimum requirement for the supply of renewable transport fuels, the aim should be to encourage greater demand of renewable fuels where possible.

While the government’s move to open a consultation “suggests they are going to increase the RTFO to force more renewable fuel into the market which is a good thing.” he says, “We still think there is a role for market demand measures so companies that want to do the right thing should be helped to buy renewable fuels if they can.”

Fuel suppliers who do not meet the minimum levels for the RTFO can buy certificates instead, but the percentage of biodiesel in standard B7 pump diesel has been steadily increasing and is now around 6%.

“Because the RTFO has been ratcheting up over recent years it is almost getting up to the ‘blend wall’,” says Eastlake. “Much of the heavy truck fleet can go to B30, B100 or renewable HVO blends whereas the diesel car fleet is going to struggle beyond B7. The RTFO might allow us to be more aggressive with that B30 or B100 element and also with biogas.”