Agriculture and Ethanol Groups Echo Automakers Call for Higher-Octane Gasoline Standard in Fuel Economy Rule

Source: By Doug Durante, Clean Fuels Development Coalition • Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Washington, D.C. – (July 13, 2021) – Dozens of agricultural, ethanol, automotive, and manufacturing organizations are calling for higher octane in gasoline to help automakers increase vehicle fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, signed by a range of agriculture and ethanol interests, they pointed to the role that higher-octane fuels could play in advancing the Administration’s climate and public health objectives. This letter follows a letter to the High Octane Low Carbon Alliance (HOLCA) weeks earlier from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation that expressed support for high octane low carbon fuels in new and existing internal combustion engines…as soon as possible….. to facilitate the nation’s transition to a lower carbon economy“.

The letter to the President was signed by more than two dozen groups and called for the Environmental Protection Agency to address octane in the current forthcoming rulemaking on Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards (or the “SAFE-2 Rule”) now under review at the Office of Management and Budget.

According to HOLC Alliance Chairman Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and longtime proponent of reducing toxic compounds used to increase octane, failure to address these issues in the SAFE-2 Rule would be a lost opportunity.

“The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab and automaker studies have shown that ethanol has superior octane-boosting properties and is an environmentally safer substitute for oil-derived, benzene-based octane enhancers, “ said Daschle. “The widespread use of higher octane, lower carbon fuels (98-100 RON) would enable automakers to offer more efficient higher-compression engines, while reducing aromatics by 40% or more.”

The growing adoption of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines to improve fuel efficiency has increased emissions of the most dangerous ultrafine particles – a trend that would be reversed by the use of high octane low carbon fuels. A recent General Motors study found that nearly 96% of the particulate matter emissions from gasoline are caused by the aromatics in the fuel. And, even more concerning is the disproportionate impact of these emissions on communities of color.

“EPA has all the authority they need to regulate fuels under an amendment to the Clean Air Act that Senator Bob Dole and Senator Daschle offered in 1990, more than 30 years ago,” Doug Durante, Executive Director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, said. “Action on this danger to public health is long overdue.”

The joint letter asks the President to urge EPA Administrator Regan to include a request for comment on the role high octane low carbon fuels can play in advancing the Administration’s climate, environmental justice, public health, economic revitalization, and energy security objectives.