The Renewable Fuels Association today hailed the introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act of 2020 by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), calling the legislation “the beginning of an exciting new era in transportation fuels policy.” By establishing a high-octane, low-carbon fuel requirement, the bill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enable greater engine efficiency, and encourage competition and lower pump prices. In addition, the legislation addresses existing regulatory impediments that have slowed the commercialization of high-octane, low-carbon fuels and the vehicles that consume them.
“The Next Generation Fuels Act of 2020 provides a bold and innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions, improving engine efficiency and performance, protecting human health, and removing the arcane regulatory roadblocks that have hindered the expansion of cleaner, greener liquid fuels,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “By establishing the roadmap for an orderly transition to high-octane, low-carbon fuels, this landmark legislation begins an exciting new era in transportation fuels policy. As the world’s top supplier of clean, affordable, low-carbon octane, the U.S. ethanol industry proudly and enthusiastically supports this legislation. We thank Rep. Bustos for her thoughtful leadership and determined efforts to craft and introduce this bill, and we look forward to working together to make this bold vision a reality.”
Specifically, the Bustos bill would establish a certification test fuel with a research octane number (RON) of 98, along with a requirement that the source of the octane boost reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by an average of at least 30% compared to a 2018 gasoline baseline. The legislation also includes a restriction on the aromatics content of gasoline, ensures parity in the regulation of gasoline volatility (Reid vapor pressure), corrects the “R-factor” used in fuel economy testing, provides for an E30 fuel waiver, replaces EPA’s flawed MOVES model, and restores meaningful credit toward compliance with fuel economy (CAFE) and emissions standards for the production of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs).
RFA first began advocating for the creation of a national high-octane low carbon fuel standard in late 2018. As Cooper outlined the industry’s policy priorities at the February 2019 National Ethanol Conference, he stated, “RFA’s vision for the future includes not only strengthening the RFS, but also pursuing a high-octane fuel standard,” including a requirement for 98 RON fuel, limitations on aromatics content, numerous regulatory fixes, and other measures that would “assure air quality improvements, carbon emissions reduction, and consumer savings for decades to come.” This theme was also a centerpiece of Cooper’s 2020 remarks: “We are actively engaged in discussions with lawmakers, legislative counsel, and regulators around a Low Carbon Octane Standard. We are doing the legal work and the economic analysis. And we are working to broaden the coalition of supporters for high-octane low carbon fuels.”
“Even with increased sales of electric vehicles, it is broadly understood and accepted that our light-duty transportation fleet will continue to rely heavily on liquid fuels and internal combustion engines for decades to come,” Cooper said. “As such, we should be pursuing policy solutions that compel improvements in the environmental performance and efficiency of those liquid fuels and internal combustion engines. That’s exactly what Congresswoman Bustos’s bill does.”