RIN Credits

RIN is short for Renewable Identification Number and is a renewable fuel credit. A RIN credit is a serial number assigned to each gallon of renewable fuel as it is introduced into U.S. commerce. RIN credits were created by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to track our nation’s progress toward reaching the energy independence goals established by the U.S. Congress. RIN credits are the currency used by obligated parties to certify compliance they are meeting mandated renewable fuel volumes. All fuel produced for U.S. consumption must contain either adequate renewable fuel in the blend or the equivalent in RIN credits. RINs are tracked throughout each link in the supply chain, as title is transferred from one party to the next, until the point in time where the biofuel is blended with petroleum products. Once the renewable fuel is in the fuel, the RIN is separated and is then eligible to trade as an environmental credit.

A renewable fuel is defined in the Energy Policy Act as a motor vehicle fuel that is produced from plant or animal products or wastes, as opposed to fossil fuel sources. Renewable fuels include ethanol, biodiesel and other motor vehicle fuels made from renewable sources.

The RFS program was created under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005, and established the first renewable fuel volume mandate in the U.S. This standard is used by obligated parties (refiners, importers and blenders other than oxygen blenders) to calculate their renewable volume obligation. RFS is based upon the American motorist’s fuel use in any given year.

As required under EPAct, the original RFS program (RFS1) required 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into gasoline by 2012.

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS program was expanded in several key ways:

  • EISA expanded the RFS program to include diesel, in addition to gasoline;
  • EISA increased the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022;
  • EISA established new categories of renewable fuel, and set separate volume requirements for each one;
  • EISA required EPA to apply lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) performance threshold standards to ensure that each category of renewable fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than the petroleum fuel it replaces.

EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) is a database maintained by EPA to handle RIN transfer activities between interested parties. The objective is to eliminate duplicate RINs and other problems associated with the current RIN system by centralizing this aspect of the RFS.

For more detailed and specific info on RINs, we recommend contacting the RINAlliance,® a web-based renewable fuel compliance service open to all blenders and marketers registered with the EPA. The RINAlliance advantage provides confidential management and reporting services on behalf of registered blenders, reports direct to EPA, and aggregates marketable RINs for convenient brokering to refiners and importers.

RINAlliance is operated by industry specialists that allow marketers and blenders to share profits of aggregated trading within the RIN market.


RFS1, RFS2, and EMTS by Ed Burke

For more information, visit the RFS website at: