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ACE: High octane ethanol the solution to improved emissions, fuel economy in future vehicles

Sioux Falls, SD (April 13, 2018) – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment is holding a hearing this morning on “High Octane Fuels and High Efficiency Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities,” looking at the potential for high octane fuels and the vehicles designed for them to further the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Corporate Average Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas (CAFE-GHG) programs. In a letter to the subcommittee, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings explains that ethanol-enriched, high octane fuels are the most affordable way to thread the needle for reduced tailpipe emissions and improved fuel economy, advancing goals of both programs, simultaneously. Excerpts from the letter are below: 

“…high octane fuels represent a complementary link between automaker compliance with EPA’s GHG standards and fulfilling the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. To be more exact, high octane fuel comprised of 25 to 30 percent (98 to 100 RON) ethanol is a cost-effective, low-carbon solution to successful implementation of both the RFS and GHG standards.

“One of the reasons Congress enacted the RFS is because refiners control nearly all of the nation’s fuel supply terminals.  In other words, the “free market” is a myth when it comes to motor fuel because refiners decide whether or not to blend low-cost renewable fuels such as ethanol into the gasoline they make. Similarly, if refiners are left to their own devices, a new minimum high octane fuel will not materialize. It will require a push either by EPA through future automobile GHG standards or by Congress taking action to require a minimum octane rating for fuel.

“Some oil refiners will testify today in support of a transition to a new 91 AKI (95 RON) fuel.  As we understand this concept, it would limit ethanol’s contribution to just 10 percent by volume, falling short of the need to reduce tailpipe emissions and save consumers money at the pump.  For these reasons, ACE cannot support any new high octane fuel standard which restricts ethanol’s share to just 10 or 15 percent by volume.

“…to gain widespread consumer acceptance and save motorists money at the pump it will be necessary for a new high octane fuel be a minimum of 98 RON and contain much higher ethanol inclusion rates.”

To read ACE’s full letter, click here.

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