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Smorch: liquid fuels are here to stay and address climate challenges

The president and CEO of CountryMark says liquid fuels shouldn’t be counted out as energy transition and carbon reduction policies are shaped to address climate challenges.

Brownfield spoke with Matt Smorch during the recent Indiana Climate Summit.

“Liquid fuels are still a viable part of any (climate) solutions that could happen, and it seems like there are more and more policies like those in California trying to get rid of the internal combustion engine and those things that use our products,” he says. “For example, EPA recently came out with tailpipe rules that the comment period is done on July 5th and it basically is a mandate for 67% of the new car fleet to be electric to meet the tailpipe emissions and I think that that threatens liquid fuels. When we go to electric vehicles, they offer a replacement for gasoline in certain areas, but I worry about diesel fuel and there’s not a great viable replacement for diesel fuel today, especially in the ag sector at harvest and planting. So, you need to have the distribution for fuels, they’re still relevant, and they’re going to be relevant for a long time.”

CountryMark is an integrated oil company with petroleum production, refining and distribution, and marketing.

But, he says there are policies that could help improve liquid fuels.

“One example would be to raise the octane standard for gasoline and that would allow automakers to make more efficient vehicles. If we had the right framework, it could drive additional ethanol blending which would lower the carbon intensity of gasoline. I think that it would be a great way to compete against electric vehicles because if we went to a 95 octane standard for gasoline, it’d be equivalent to putting 720,000 electric vehicles on the road every year. So it would be very good for the decade going down the decarbonization trail.”

Smorch spoke on a panel about advanced renewable fuels alongside Jason van den Brink with Ozinga Energy and Erich Evans with NIPSCO during the summit on Tuesday.

CountryMark has been a farmer-owned cooperative since 1919. Its products are sold in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Audio: Matt Smorch

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