GAO report: agencies need to track SAF usage to meet federal goals

A report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that federal agencies should track the use of sustainable aviation fuel to meet the administration’s climate goals.

The GAO is asking the Departments of Transportation, Energy and Agriculture to establish a framework to track the progress of using SAF in the airline industry. The agencies had previously created a roadmap to guide the increase in production, but it didn’t include a way to follow progress.

Ed Lammers is a Nebraska farmer on the United Soybean Board and recently told Brownfield increased SAF production would significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. “This transportation area, they are a big users.  They carry a big footprint that can be reduced.”

The report found that the fuel is used at two large airports in California but it only accounts for less than 0.1% (one-tenth of a percent) of jet fuel, which is below the previous Federal Aviation Administration goal to use 1 billion gallons by 2018.

However, the GAO concluded that the high price of SAF compared to conventional jet fuel is a key factor limiting production and use. It also says SAF tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will affect the market.

The White House issued a “Grand Challenge” that aims to increase the production of sustainable jet fuel to 3 billion gallons per year by 2030. Its goal is also to produce enough fuel to meet 100% of commercial jet fuel demand by 2050.

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