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Ag, Ethanol, Enviro Groups Press Biden on High-Octane Gasoline Standard

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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A number of agriculture and ethanol groups are asking the Biden administration to set a high-octane gasoline standard. (DTN file photo)

With the Biden administration preparing to write a regulation on greenhouse gas emissions standards on for light-duty vehicles, a coalition of agriculture, ethanol and environmental interests has asked the president to include a high-octane gasoline standard in the rulemaking.

During the Biden administration the idea of creating high-octane fuel vehicles to open new markets for ethanol and other biofuels, has taken a backseat to the administration's focus on electric vehicles.

In recent weeks the ethanol industry has suffered two major setbacks in court. That includes the Supreme Court siding with refining companies in a small-refinery exemptions case and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossing EPA's E15 rule that allows for year-round sales of the fuel.

While the ethanol industry continues to wait to see how the EPA responds to the court rulings, and what 2021 and 2022 volume proposals for the Renewable Fuel Standard will look like, a number of interest groups press Biden in a July 11 letter to consider high-octane fuels as a carbon-reduction strategy for transportation fuels.

"We the undersigned stakeholders represent a broad spectrum of agriculture, ethanol, and environmental interests," the letter said.

"We write to emphasize the importance of the Environmental Protection Agency proposing a higher-octane gasoline standard in the forthcoming rulemaking on Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards (or the 'SAFE-2 Rule') now under review at the Office of Management and Budget. Further, we respectfully ask that you urge EPA Administrator (Michael) Regan to include a request for comment on the role high-octane low-carbon fuels can play in advancing your administration's climate, environmental justice, public health, economic revitalization, and energy security objectives."

Groups signing the letter include the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, National Farmers Union, National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Farmers Union Enterprises, Governors Biofuel Coalition, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa Farmers Union, Indiana Farmers Union, Michigan Farmers Union, Minnesota Farmers Union, Missouri Farmers Union, North Dakota Farmers Union, Montana Farmers Union, Nebraska Farmers Union, South Dakota Farmers Union, Utah Farmers Union, Illinois Corn Growers, Kansas Corn Growers, Missouri Corn Growers, Nebraska Corn Growers, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Urban Air Initiative, American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Coalition for Ethanol.

The Clean Fuels Development Coalition, National Farmers Union, National Corn Growers Association and Renewable Fuels Association make up the High-Octane Low-Carbon Alliance.

In addition, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation that has 38 members including auto manufacturers that account for 99% of the new light-duty vehicles sold in the United States, has expressed support for high-octane fuels.

In a June 11, 2021, letter to High-Octane Low-Carbon Alliance Chairman and former Sen. Tom Daschle, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation said it supports the development of high-octane fuels to improve air quality "during the transition" to expanded vehicle electrification.

"While today's vehicles emit near zero levels of tailpipe and evaporative emissions and are further reducing these emissions under the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 3 standards, more can be done to support lower emissions and air toxics exposure especially in disadvantaged communities," the letter said.

"While vehicle electrification is a primary focus at this time, petroleum use will continue for years to come. As such, there are potential climate and air quality benefits that can be optimized through the encouragement and rollout of high-octane, low-carbon liquid fuels."

Todd Neeley can be reached at

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