Corn Growers, Ethanol Supporters to EPA:  Stop Penalizing Ethanol Blends

Source: By Kim Trinchet, Urban Air Initative • Posted: Sunday, August 16, 2020

Washington, D.C. August 14, 2020: The Urban Air Initiative (UAI), a coalition of state corn grower organizations, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and the Clean Fuels Development Coalition filed comments today asking EPA not to penalize ethanol’s ability to reduce carbon emissions. The EPA is proposing to penalize ethanol for its lower carbon profile, even though nothing in the law warrants this action.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking, EPA is proposing to penalize the current Tier 3 test fuel that all automakers will use to meet carbon dioxide emission standards because it contains 10% ethanol. This Tier 3 test fuel lowers carbon dioxide emissions compared to the prior E0 test fuel from 1975. The EPA is creating this new penalty against ethanol by manipulating test procedures to inflate the tailpipe CO2 emissions of vehicles certified using E10. Since the penalty would presumably increase with higher ethanol volumes, this rule would be a major disincentive for automakers to transition to higher ethanol blends.
“Basically ethanol can’t win. First EPA ignores ethanol’s ability to reduce toxic aromatics, and now it wants to penalize ethanol for being a more efficient, lower-carbon fuel additive,” said Urban Air President Dave VanderGriend.
“The EPA is making this more complicated than it needs to be. It’s creating rules based on older, non-representative fuels in its testing. Plus, EPA has no authority to penalize a particular fuel. Automakers can take advantage of high octane ethanol but not if they are penalized before they even start. In short, let the market work,” VanderGriend said.
State Corn Grower Organizations from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin were among the commenters, along with the Clean Fuels Development Coalition (CFDC) and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).
“EPA’s anti-ethanol bias is not limited to how it has badly mismanaged the Renewable Fuel Standard, it extends to the Agency’s proposal to artificially inflate CO2 emissions from vehicles being tested on E10 blends for ‘Tier 3 Test Fuel Procedures,’” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “ACE is honored to join so many Corn State organizations, CFDC and the Urban Air Initiative in comments which draw attention to the flaws of EPA’s proposed adjustments for the Tier 3 E10 test fuel.”
UAI and others have been asking the EPA for years to recognize that test fuels need to represent what is actually being used in the market, and that fuels and vehicle must be viewed as an integrated system.