Ethanol Can Help EPA Follow the Law 

Source: By Kim Trinchet, Urban Air Initiative • Posted: Friday, May 11, 2018

Increasing octane should not come at the expense of air quality, carbon emissions, or human health. This was part of the testimony from Bob Dinneen with the Renewable Fuels Association this week at the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing. The Urban Air Initiative applauds RFA for speaking out and helping educate lawmakers on the importance of clean octane.

There is a lot of discussion about raising the minimum octane value in the United States. Octane is needed in gasoline to prevent engine knocking in our cars. Right now, to boost octane, refiners mostly use toxic aromatics known as BTEX , including benzene. And if octane standards are increased without oversight, it is likely refiners will continue increasing these cancer causing carcinogens.
However, ethanol can and should play a role in higher octane standards. Ethanol provides a better octane boost compared to aromatics, while significantly reducing toxic emissions coming out of the tailpipe.
And here’s the thing, the Environmental Protection Agency is mandated under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to reduce mobile air toxics to the greatest degree achievable. EPA has acknowledged that aromatics  are “hazardous air pollutants” that must be regulated under section 202(L) of the CAA. Apart from a small decrease in benzene, the Agency has yet to substantially reduce aromatics in gasoline. So as the calls for higher octane fuels increase, we must let the EPA and gasoline refiners know that ignoring the law is not an option. The CAA forbids increasing octane by increasing aromatics in gasoline.
However, given EPA continues to offer gasoline refiners free passes like RFS waivers, we are concerned that the EPA will allow refiners to use increased amounts of toxic aromatics to meet potential higher octane standards.
If you are concerned about cleaner air and cleaner fuels, get educated on the facts and help ensure that more toxins are not added to our gasoline. There is a cleaner way to boost octane and improve our air at the same time.  Ethanol.