EPA panel asked to review public health benefits of ethanol

Source: By By Urban Air Initiative • Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Urban Air Initiative sent a letter to the COVID-19 Review Panel within the EPA’s Science Advisory Board asking them to look at the research that shows the impact gasoline additives have on tailpipe emissions and air pollution.

The review panel asked the question, does long term exposure to pollution increase the susceptibility of respiratory viruses like COVID-19. Studies show that 40 percent of particulate emissions in urban areas come from gasoline vehicles. Most of these particulate emissions come from hydrocarbon based additives called aromatics, added to gasoline to boost octane. Ethanol has the ability to reduce the amount of aromatics in fuel, reducing tailpipe emissions. “Public health suffers from poor fuel quality,” said Urban Air Technical Director Steve Vander Griend.

UAI urged the panel to review the EPA’s emissions model called the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) Model. For years UAI has raised concerns that the MOVES Model does not use real world fuel properties when assessing gasoline emissions. “This problem is mostly due to the failure to standardize how test fuels are created. The current approach is unfortunately downplaying the dangers of using aromatics in our fuel supply,” Vander Griend said.

VanderGriend says until the inputs going into the MOVES model are corrected, these tools will not provide a pathway towards cleaner fuels, which are needed to reduce public health risks like COVID-19.