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ACE: Final SAFE Vehicles Rule Missed Opportunity for High Octane, Low Carbon Ethanol

Sioux Falls, SD (March 31, 2020) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks today. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings called the rule a missed opportunity to provide a pathway for high octane, low carbon fuel in his following reaction to the final rule:

“The final rule is a missed opportunity to provide a roadmap for high octane mid-level ethanol blends after EPA specifically requested comments on the role 100 Research Octane Number (RON) E30 could play to help automakers meet fuel economy and emissions standards. We are also disappointed the rule appears to give special treatment to natural gas vehicles but fails to extend much needed incentives for the continued production of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), just another example of EPA choosing fossil fuels over low carbon fuels and rural America.

“There are a number of regulatory barriers restricting market access to high octane mid-level ethanol blends that we set forth in our comments in the fall of 2018 and it’s unfortunate that after requesting information from the public on the ‘ideal octane level,’ the ‘benefits of increasing fuel octane,’ and specifically how higher octane fuel will play a role in ‘engine technologies and product offerings’ and ‘improvements to fuel economy and CO2 reductions,’ EPA failed to incorporate what the Agency previously conceded: ‘higher octane fuel can provide auto manufacturers more flexibility to meet more stringent standards by enabling opportunities for use of lower CO2 emitting technologies.’

“EPA’s failure to act underscores the importance of ACE’s work to advance new Low Carbon Octane Standard legislation to establish a minimum octane standard of 98 RON gasoline from clean sources of octane that reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions such as ethanol.”

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