Corn growers frustrated with EPA’s proposed vehicle emission standards

Corn growers say the Environmental Protection Agency continues to ignore the benefits of biofuels in its quest toward a clean vehicle future.

The EPA says its latest proposed vehicle emission standards could make 67% of new light-duty vehicles and 46% of new medium-duty vehicles fully electric by 2032.  

Illinois Farmer Bill Leigh, who chairs the National Corn Growers Association’s Transportation Action Team, tells Brownfield the EPA is not considering homegrown biofuels like ethanol and that will hurt the nation’s farmers.   

“Right now, we use roughly 40% of the corn crop to go into ethanol production. If EPA has their way, we won’t have that market.”

Michigan Corn Growers Association Executive Director Jim Zook says ethanol has proven its worth toward cutting tailpipe emissions.    

“The greenhouse gas emissions from an E85 vehicle are actually less than what you have when you calculate all of the electricity generation system that goes in there.”

Leigh says EV infrastructure is also lacking, so the Next Generation Fuels Act that has been introduced in the US House and Senate with bipartisan support is a more realistic solution.

“Don’t be afraid to call your congressmen and voice your concerns. We need the Next Generation Fuels Act. It is important for our livelihood, I think it is better for the environment than what they are talking about and it keeps the product in country because it is all homegrown.”

The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and others are also encouraging the administration to consider low-carbon fuels to provide more options and flexibility for consumers.

EPA plans to hold a virtual public hearing for the proposed rule beginning on May 9th.

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