The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) supports President Donald Trump’s decision to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the final determination of greenhouse gas standards (GHG) for model year (MY) 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles and, in harmony with the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to reinstate the midterm evaluation of the GHG and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks for MY 2022-2025. “Today’s action does not roll back the CAFE-GHG standards but rather directs EPA to put the midterm review of the standards back on track,” said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president. “This is good news because reconsideration of the 2022-2025 standards will enable us to emphasize the need for EPA to allow high-octane, high-ethanol blends to be used in meeting future efficiency standards.”
President Trump met with auto executives and workers in Ypsilanti, Michigan, today where he announced he’s directing the EPA to put the midterm review back on the original schedule and make a new final determination by April 2018. The Federal Register Notice signed by DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is available here.
In November, EPA issued a proposed determination on the appropriateness of the MY 2022-2025 standards. ACE submitted comments to EPA in December on this topic, available here. Shortly after in January, the Obama administration issued a final determination, 14 months ahead of schedule, that those late-term standards remain feasible and should be kept as is. Trump has directed EPA to revisit the final determination to allow additional consultation with the public, NHTSA and the California Air Resources Board.
“Now that the review of MY 2022-2025 standards will return to the original schedule, we will also be able to make the case that EPA and NHTSA need to provide meaningful incentives for flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and engines designed to operate most efficiently on high-octane, high-ethanol blends,” Jennings said. “Currently, the standards are biased in favor of electric vehicles and ignore the role that FFVs and engines optimized to run on blends in the range of E25-40 can play in meeting fuel economy and GHG reduction goals.”
ACE has been in dialogue with automakers, agricultural organizations, government researchers and many others to develop strategies and action plans to accelerate the transition of North American transportation fuels to low-cost, fuel-efficient, high-octane biofuels such as ethanol, to which CAFE-GHG standards present a natural and timely opportunity for this transition to occur. ACE recommends increasing the minimum market gasoline octane rating, commensurate with increased use of ethanol. ACE also believes FFVs should be encouraged by credits and can play a role as a bridge to new engine technologies dedicated to run on higher octane, higher level ethanol blends.