NFU urges house subcommittee to expand use of high-octane, American grown biofuels
WASHINGTON — As Congress looks to revamp and coordinate federal-level policies that govern the transportation fuels and vehicles sectors, National Farmers Union is urging legislators to expand use of high-octane, mid-level blends of ethanol in the transportation fuel supply.
In doing so, policymakers have the opportunity to create lasting national policy that builds on the significant economic, environmental and national security benefits associated with increased biofuel production and use.
NFU President Roger Johnson submitted a statement to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on the Environment in advance of the subcommittee’s hearing on “Discussion Draft: The 21 Century Transportation Fuels Act.”
“NFU agrees that fuel and vehicle regulation can and should work hand-in-hand to promote clean-burning, alternative renewable fuels,” Johnson said. “High octane fuels through higher blends of ethanol should be the fuel for today and the future.”
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The subcommittee met to focus on synergies and opportunities for the nation’s preeminent fuels and vehicles policies — the Renewable Fuel Standard and Corporate Average Fuel Economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards. In doing so, the subcommittee acknowledged that “high-octane fuels and vehicles may be an economical and technologically feasible path forward for producers and sellers of fuels and vehicles as well as the consumers who use them.”
In his statement to the committee, Johnson touted the benefits of mid-level ethanol blends, like E30. “The synergies between high octane fuels and more efficient, high compression engines must be recognized and supported. Ethanol has a very high octane number and has many other benefits that increase engine efficiency and reduce tailpipe air emissions, supporting these advanced engines. It provides these benefits at a lower cost than any other octane booster in gasoline.”
Johnson also added that “consumers would benefit from fuel cost savings, reduced price volatility, increased performance, and the energy security and environmental attributes of mid-level ethanol blends.”
He noted that NFU was pleased by recent moves by the administration to support year-round use of E15 and to accept comments on the benefits of high-octane fuels for CAFE and GHG standards. Yet, EPA has not proposed any specific regulatory actions that would remove obstacles to higher blends entering the market and that would move the country toward high-octane fuels.
To that effect, Johnson recommended:
• Easing the ability to use mid-level ethanol blends as certification fuel under EPA regulations;
• Adjusting CAFE and GHG regulations to better account for ethanol content in fuels, including providing credits to support vehicles that promote increased use of renewable fuels;
• Modifying EPA emissions modeling to better account for the benefits of ethanol;
• Reconsidering EPA’s Reid Vapor Pressure requirements for mid-level ethanol blends; and
• Growing and enforcing the RFS.
“Virtually all parties, including EPA, acknowledge the GHG and fuel economy benefits of high-octane fuels in more efficient engines, and the cost-effectiveness of using higher ethanol blends to meet these goals,” said Johnson. “It’s time they act to increase the amount of mid-level blends of ethanol we use in the U.S.” ❖
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