NFU supports higher-level ethanol blends

Source: By Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network • Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2021

One of NFU’s priorities for the new year is providing more support for higher-level blends of ethanol. The organization praised a bill that was introduced in September that would have increased gasoline octane to a minimum standard of 98 Research Octane Number (RON) through low-carbon, renewable fuels.

Anne Steckel with the National Farmers Union recently said higher octane fuels like mid-and-high-level ethanol blends are mutually beneficial for drivers, farmers, and the environment.

“We certainly know that the more ethanol you put in your vehicles, the better the emissions are,” Steckel said. “We all certainly have appreciated having cleaner air in both rural and urban areas. We think for a variety of reasons that there are many benefits to using biofuels such as ethanol.”

Steckel says NFU hopes to target blends higher than E15, which was approved for year-round use. “We are looking at higher-level blends like E30,” she said. “There have been pilot programs that have taken place in some of the states where the cars have run very effectively and efficiently on those higher-level volumes.”

A step in the process will be collaboration with automakers, says Steckel. A recent report from the Renewable Fuels Association indicated flex fuel vehicle offerings are taking a nosedive in 2021. Only 11 models from two automakers – Ford and GM – will be on the market with five of those models available only to fleet purchasers.

“As the automakers are doing their planning for their model years in the future, we really want to talk with them about planning with E15 and then that next step whether it be E20, E25, or E30,” Steckel said. “We want to have those really constructive conversations with them because the octane and environmental benefits of a higher-level blend of ethanol are very large.”

Presently, there are more than 5,000 fuels stations selling E85 and other flex fuels in the US.