Ethanol Blog

House Bill Would Set High-Octane Standard

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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President Donald Trump announced on Saturday his administration will allow the sale of E15 in existing E10 ethanol pumps. (DTN file photo)

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday would chart a course for a high-octane future for the ethanol industry.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois, introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act to establish a new 98 Research Octane Number standard for gasoline and require sources of additional octane result in at least 30% lower greenhouse gas emissions than unblended gasoline.

In addition, the legislation would ensure progress already made to reduce emissions.

The ethanol industry has long held its future beyond the Renewable Fuel Standard lies in using much higher volumes of ethanol in gasoline in higher-performance vehicles.

A number of biofuels and agriculture interest groups came out in support of the legislation.

"The Next Generation Fuels Act of 2020 provides a bold and innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions, improving engine efficiency and performance, protecting human health, and removing the arcane regulatory roadblocks that have hindered the expansion of cleaner, greener liquid fuels," RFA President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Cooper, said.

"By establishing the roadmap for an orderly transition to high-octane, low-carbon fuels, this landmark legislation begins an exciting new era in transportation fuels policy. As the world's top supplier of clean, affordable, low-carbon octane, the U.S. ethanol industry proudly and enthusiastically supports this legislation."

The legislation also includes a restriction on the aromatics content of gasoline, ensures parity in the regulation of gasoline volatility (Reid vapor pressure), provides for an E30 fuel waiver, replaces EPA's MOVES model for GHG emissions, and restores credit toward compliance with fuel economy and emissions standards for the production of flex fuel vehicles.

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross, an Iowa farmer, said in a statement the bill would build on the RFS.

"Ethanol is uniquely positioned to not only provide consumers with low-cost options at the pump but also pave the way to future engines that increase efficiency and reduce emissions," he said.

"The Renewable Fuel Standard was a game-changer for corn farmers, and the Next Generation Fuels Act builds on that success in advancing our commitment to providing the lowest cost, most efficient, and environmentally friendly fuel available."

Growth Energy Chief Executive Officer Emily Skor said there is an "urgent need" to move to a high-octane standard.

"We applaud Congresswoman Bustos for charting a path forward that will unleash clean, affordable ethanol to drive decarbonization in our nation's transportation fleet and save consumers money at the fuel pump," she said.

Also, on Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, included the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity provision in the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019 passed by the House.

The provision would set a June 1 deadline for annual small-refinery exemption petitions, so gallons exempted would be accounted for in RFS calculations. The measure also would require public disclosure of the volumes of biofuels affected by an exemption along with the name of petitioners.

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