March 22, 2021

Bipartisan Committee Leaders Request Review of Barriers to Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Washington, DC – The bipartisan leaders of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Subcommittee on Aviation have asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess barriers to the deployment of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The GAO request was made by Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Sam Graves (R-MO), Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation Garret Graves (R-LA), and Subcommittee Chair Rick Larsen (D-WA).

Although there has been a 75-percent decrease in energy intensity of air travel between 1970 and 2016, the Members noted that SAF—jet fuel refined from biomass, waste streams, or gaseous carbon oxides—is now a leading contender for curbing the growth of overall aviation emissions in the near term.  However, challenges remain to successfully deploying SAF on a broad scale.

“While there are many benefits to SAF, there are significant barriers to its widespread adoption…The International Air Transport Association assessed that despite 1.6 billion gallons in global forward purchasing agreements for SAF, only 10.5 million gallons of SAF would be produced in 2020, or 0.015 percent of total jet fuel. Additionally, SAF must currently be blended with conventional jet fuel, although the low availability of SAF mitigates this issue in the short term.”

Given “widespread industry and bipartisan support for accelerating and incentivizing the development, certification, production, deployment, and use of SAF in greater volumes,” the Committee leaders requested a GAO review of existing barriers, as well as the federal government’s role in facilitating the development, certification, production, deployment, and use of SAF. 

Read the full GAO request here.