Urban Air Initiative-led Coalition Calls on EPA to Recognize the Role of High Octane Ethanol Blends in Fuel Economy Regulations

Source: By Megan Grimes, Nebraska Ehtanol Board • Posted: Friday, October 6, 2017

WASHINGTON D.C.In comments submitted to the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week, a coalition of stakeholders led by the Urban Air Initiative (UAI) said ethanol is a price-competitive, safe and efficient high-octane fuel additive that can help meet efficiency and CO2 reduction goals if given access to the market.

The comments were filed in response to EPA’s “Request for Comment on the Reconsideration of the Final Determination of the Mid Term Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Model Year 2022-2025.”

The Urban Air Initiative-led effort included the Clean Fuels Development Coalition; the Nebraska Ethanol Board,  Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC; Siouxland Ethanol, LLC;  ICM, Inc.; Nebraska Ethanol Industry Coalition; Little Sioux Corn Processors, Prarie Horizons Agri-Energy, Nebraska Farmers Union; and South Dakota Farmers Union.

“We commend EPA for giving this important issue of fuel economy and carbon reductions the thorough and complete evaluation it requires, and correcting the serious errors in the technical assessment issued last November,” said UAI President Dave VanderGriend.

According to VanderGriend, the evaluation that was to have taken a year to review was rushed through in a matter of weeks.

“We believe a more comprehensive review , including a  thorough cost benefit analysis, will show high octane fuels can increase efficiency in not just cars of the future but in the cars on the road today,” he said.

UAI notes that compared to other octane boosting compounds, ethanol has superior octane and low carbon properties. Specific recommendations included the following actions the agency can take and has the authority to do so.

  • EPS should repeal certification fuel rules that prevent auto manufacturers from building vehicles that are more efficient.
  • EPA should repeal its erroneous and outdated interpretation of the sub-sim law as capping ethanol use in existing vehicles.
  • EPA should repeal unnecessary Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations that limit the viability of E15 and mid-level ethanol blends.
  • EPA should repeal and replace its inaccurate fuel economy formula.
  • EPA should repeal and replace its rule requiring states to use incorrect emissions estimates in pollution reduction planning.

“These counterproductive regulatory barriers have prevented ethanol’s superior automotive and environmental values from driving its continued growth in the U.S. fuel market as a source of clean octane for today’s motor vehicles, and the highly efficient vehicles that increased ethanol blending would enable in the near future,” VanderGriend said.