CFDC Calls on EPA to Drop Proposal Penalizing Ethanol Efficiency 

Source: By CFDC • Posted: Monday, July 13, 2020

Washington, D.C. July 13, 2020:  Clean Fuels Development Coalition executive director Doug Durante said the US EPA needs to update their carbon lifecycle analysis for ethanol and scrap a plan that would penalize automakers for using ethanol blends.

In testimony at a virtual hearing today, Durante told officials from the Office of Air Quality and Transportation that the basic premise of a mileage loss due to the Btu content of ethanol is rooted in outdated information based on questionable science and test procedures.  Furthermore, the full GHG lifecycle analysis EPA uses is not in line with more contemporary studies from the Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

The critical issue, according to Durante, is that higher ethanol blends can continue to displace toxic aromatics that present a significant health threat by producing ultra-fine particulates.

“Respectfully we urge EPA to look at these issues as they interconnect, and not in a vacuum.  We all want to reduce carbon as it addresses climate change, but this must be done in a balance with carbon as it impacts health,” he said. “Disincentivizing a clean octane, low cost, low carbon fuel like ethanol in favor of a toxic hydrocarbon ignores the very real threat of ultra-fine particulates from aromatics.  And we now know these can be carriers of airborne viruses.”

The EPA proposal would effectively penalize automakers by calculating CO2 emissions which are higher than what is measured at the tailpipe.  Durante told the panel that EPA’s own data confirms ethanol is providing a substantial displacement of aromatics, which are the most energy and carbon intensive components of gasoline, and not getting any credit for that.

In conclusion, he noted that despite CFDC’s disappointment that the SAFE Rule did not increase octane, is the mechanism to set efficiency and ghg standards.

“Rather than penalizing a particular fuel, allow automakers to maximize fuel properties in their designs without predetermining a fuel’s efficiency. In so doing you will be addressing both climate and health, as is the agency’s duty.”