Ethanol groups see opportunity in EPA emission standards proposal
Three key ethanol groups today said the rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 provides opportunity for the industry.
“This proposal provides a valuable opportunity to highlight the benefits of high-octane, low-carbon fuels, such as mid-level ethanol blends like E30,” said Growth Energy Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley.
“We look forward to participating in this discussion to show how ethanol blends can help automakers meet future GHG standards and provide immediate consumer benefits.”
“Some might argue EPA’s proposal to flatline the standards will lead to increased gasoline use and tailpipe pollution, but not if the final rule paves the way for E25-30 high-octane fuel in future engines,” American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings said in a news release.
“Ethanol-enriched, high-octane fuel in the 99-100 RON range would enable automakers to simultaneously reduce GHG emissions and improve fuel economy.”
The Renewable Fuels Association noted that the proposal highlights previous recommendations from the High Octane Low Carbon Alliance (HOLC), of which RFA is a founding member.
EPA writes, “In the meetings with HOLC and the (Fuel Freedom Foundation), the groups advocated for the potential benefits high octane fuels could provide via the blending of non-petroleum feedstocks to increase octane levels available at the pump.
“The groups’ positions on benefits took both a technical approach by suggesting an octane level of 100 is desired for the marketplace, as well as, the benefits from potential increased national energy security by reduced dependencies on foreign petroleum.”
RFA Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper said, “For far too long, the CAFE/GHG program has focused only the effects of engine technologies on fuel efficiency and emissions, while failing to recognize the important role that the fuels themselves play in determining efficiency and emissions impacts.”
“RFA has relentlessly advocated throughout the midterm evaluation process that the impact of fuel properties on efficiency and emissions must be considered, and we provided detailed information showing that high-octane fuels can provide tremendous benefits,” Cooper said.
“We are pleased to see that EPA’s proposal recognizes that high-octane fuels can help enable more efficient engines and reduce GHG emissions, and we believe the agency should use its authority to include high-octane low-carbon fuels as an option available to automakers for meeting more stringent fuel economy and emissions standards in the future.”
The rule is expected to bring legal challenges, especially from California, and was criticized by environmental groups.
Rob Sargent, energy program director for Environment America, said, “How can we justify rolling back the most effective tool we have to address global warming?”
“This latest move by the Trump administration means that our cars will continue to pump billions of metric tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, further destabilizing the climate and sparking increasingly severe impacts of global warming,” Sargent said. “At our current carbon pollution level, humanity is facing conditions not seen on our planet for more than 400,000 years.”
The EPA will open the rule to the public for a 60-day comment period and will hold public hearings in Washington, Detroit and Los Angeles.
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