Lower emissions standards hurting ethanol industry

Source: By Robert Suhr, KXNET • Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

We’d all love to have a new car or truck, especially one with a lower sticker price. But at what cost?

The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule effectively eases emission restrictions through 2026 put in place by the Obama administration.

But groups across the country say the EPA ignored the benefits that cleaner fuel brings to cars., including mid-level ethanol.

Mark Watne is president of the North Dakota Farmers Union.

“What it does is it takes the need for increased octane and more improved emission type fuel out of the equation. So it’s really a bad thing in a sense because from a consumer perspective obviously you want the environment better and you want your vehicle to get better mileage so it was a bad move from our perspective,” said Watne.

The new rule calls for a one and a half percent increase in fuel efficiency by 2026, down from the 5% requirement originally set.

And several automakers, including Ford and Volkswagen, say they’d prefer not to have the emissions standards lessened.

And the news not only impacts those who grow the corn, but those who process it later on down the line, and they’re disappointed.

“It looked like there was an opportunity to actually grow our industry, help the American people produce a lower carbon, high-efficiency vehicle that can operate on it and we missed out on that opportunity so I think a lot of disappointment from our perspective,” said Adam Dunlop of Midwest Ag Energy.

But even though the vehicle you buy may cost less, you could end up paying more in the long run at the pump as well as the air you breather.

Both groups say its another blow to the ethanol industry already on hard times becomes of the COVID-19 pandemic which is already facing an oversupply of ethanol.

“The bad scenario here is it drags the pain longer, so you gotta eat up that simply over a longer period of time. And every harvest we go through and every time that plant isn’t running and moving ethanol, we’re building stocks of potential ethanol or for corn and it’s just gonna make the pain longer,” said Watne.

Nearly a dozen states and other groups, such as the North Dakota Farmers Union, plan on taking the EPA to court in the hopes of overturning their decision.