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RFA Testimony to EPA Calls for Inclusion of High-Octane Low-Carbon Fuels

August 25, 2021

Environment, EPA


In a hearing today on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for 2023-2026 light-duty vehicles, the Renewable Fuels Association is spotlighting the role high-octane, low-carbon fuels like ethanol can and must play in increasing fuel efficiency and reducing GHG emissions.


“If our nation is to reach its goal of net-zero GHG emissions by mid-century, we’ll need both cleaner, more efficient cars and cleaner, more efficient fuels,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said in prepared remarks. “That’s why RFA’s member companies recently committed to achieving a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050 or sooner.”


RFA expressed its disappointment that EPA’s proposed GHG standards continue to focus solely on engines and vehicles, while ignoring the important influence of fuels on emissions and mileage.


“Unfortunately, EPA’s proposal fails to recognize that the fuels we put into our engines can have as much—or more—impact on fuel economy and GHG emissions as the engine technologies themselves,” Cooper said, noting that the proposal assumes automakers will increase production of certain engine technologies that rely on higher-octane fuels. “The proposed rule counts on broad deployment of high-compression ratio engines that will require high-octane fuel but does nothing to ensure those high-octane fuels will actually be produced and available in the marketplace.”


Cooper concludes by calling on EPA to use the current rulemaking, as well as the upcoming process to set GHG standards for 2027 and beyond, to create a higher octane standard for gasoline.


“Action by the EPA will be necessary to catalyze the development and introduction of cleaner, more efficient fuels into the marketplace, just as EPA action was required to eliminate lead, limit benzene, and reduce the sulfur content of our gasoline and diesel fuel,” he said. “We respectfully ask that EPA use the current rulemaking process and future rulemakings to establish the roadmap for increasing the required minimum octane rating of our nation’s light-duty vehicle fuel.”