RFA to EPA: final rule disregards ethanol’s carbon benefits

Renewable fuel supporters say the Biden administration’s new automobile emissions standards miss the mark and disregard the carbon benefits of ethanol.

Harold Wolle, a Minnesota farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, says the final rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency relies heavily on the use of electric vehicles to meet climate change goals.  “We’re all set to decarbonize the transportation system with higher blends of ethanol right now,” he says.  “We can do it, and use all of the internal combustion engines that our consumers are driving today.”

AUDIO: Harold Wolle, NCGA

Troy Bredenkamp, senior vice president of government and public affairs with the Renewable Fuels Association, says the EPA had the opportunity to make it a better rule.  “One that did level the playing field when it comes to technology and would have ultimately been better at reducing greenhouse gas emissions than this one technology approach that we see within this rule,” he says.

He tells Brownfield there will likely be legal challenges moving forward. “RFA will be weighing all of our options in terms of how we approach that,” he says.  “But it really is one of those, just very unfortunate, disappointing rules as it was finalized.”

AUDIO: Troy Bredenkamp, RFA

The final standards are expected to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter from new passenger cars, light trucks, and larger pickups and vans, helping tackle the climate crisis and resulting in widespread reductions in air pollution. These standards will phase in over model years 2027 through 2032.  The rule slows implementation of the stricter pollution standards from 2027 through 2029 but then ramps up to get near the EPA’s preferred level by 2032.

Currently, just about 1 percent of the cars on the road are electric vehicles.

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