FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2018
Contact: Hannah Packman, 202-554-1600
WASHINGTON – In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed rule to amend certain existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today submitted public comments highlighting the importance and value of moving to higher level blends of ethanol.
“There is widespread agreement regarding the need to move this country toward high octane fuels to take advantage of improved engine technologies for vehicles,” wrote Johnson, noting that mid-level ethanol blends ranging from E20 to E40 are the “most economical high-octane fuels available today.”
The proposed rule recognizes that there is greater potential for high octane fuels, and requested comment on the benefits of increasing fuel octane levels. Johnson was encouraged by the EPA’s acknowledgement, and emphasized that “the availability of high octane fuels is an important step toward better engine technology and, thereby, improved vehicle and fuel efficiency.” This can provide a number of benefits, Johnson said, including “air emissions reductions, better oil conservation, and greater energy security.”
But the advantages of high octane, low carbon fuels such as mid-level ethanol blends extend far beyond the environmental, as Johnson’s comments indicate. “The modern biofuels industry has brought billions of dollars of capital investment, millions of dollars of new tax base, and many thousands of new good paying jobs with benefits,” which is “particularly important at a time when rural America is facing a major financial crisis in the farm sector.” Johnson added that “using higher blends of ethanol also reduces costs to consumers, and automobile manufacturers often point to consumer preference as key to ensuring introduction of new technology.”
In the comments, Johnson also expressed appreciation for the EPA’s earlier decision to deemphasize the Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) Rule in its Fall 2018 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan. The rule, for which NFU has previously voiced opposition, contained language codifying a ban on E16 or higher blends of ethanol in non-flex fuel vehicles. “This proposed provision should not be finalized,” wrote Johnson, “and EPA should focus its resources on regulatory actions that promote increased ethanol use.” To achieve this, Johnson recommended that the administration “take actions to support transition to higher blends” by immediately making E15 available year-round.
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.