By blatantly tipping the scales in favor of battery electric vehicles, the proposed tailpipe emissions standards for 2027 and beyond released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overlook an obvious near-term opportunity to achieve significant vehicle efficiency improvements and carbon emissions reductions through increased use of high-octane, low-carbon ethanol fuel blends.
“While we certainly share the Biden administration’s goals of increasing vehicle efficiency and reducing carbon emissions from transportation, we strongly disagree with policy approaches that arbitrarily pick technology winners and losers with no clear scientific basis,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Today’s EPA proposal would effectively force automakers to produce more battery electric vehicles and strongly discourage them from pursuing other vehicle technologies that could achieve the same—or better—environmental performance at a lower cost to the U.S. economy and American families. We urge EPA to reconsider its proposal and instead adopt a technology-neutral approach that treats all low-carbon transportation options fairly and equally.”
Cooper continued, “As this administration’s own research shows, high-octane, low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol can immediately deliver dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency and carbon performance when paired with the right engine technologies. But today’s EPA proposal unfortunately ignores the ethanol opportunity and instead declares EVs as the winner, despite mounting evidence that a headlong rush into electrification could lead to a host of unintended environmental and economic consequences.”
RFA has pointed out that a flex fuel vehicle (FFV) running on E85 made from certain forms of ethanol available in the marketplace today would provide similar or even lower carbon emissions at a far lower cost. But today’s EPA proposal disregards the upstream carbon impacts of fuel production—including electricity made from coal or natural gas—and provides no incentive or encouragement for automakers to continue manufacturing FFVs or other liquid-fueled vehicles that can benefit from high-octane, low-carbon ethanol blends. RFA also debuted a plug-in hybrid FFV at the recent National Ethanol Conference, demonstrating that a battery/liquid fuel combination provides the greatest range, lowest cost, and most flexibility for consumers.
“All we are asking for is a level playing field,” said Cooper, who noted that RFA will continue to provide EPA with formal comments and input on the proposal. “If given the same opportunity and an equitable regulatory framework, we are confident that higher ethanol blends—and the vehicles designed to use them—can play an instrumental role in affordable decarbonization of the nation’s light-duty auto fleet.”