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Governors' Biofuels Coalition Asks Biden Administration to Consider Role of High-Octane Fuels

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- With growing doubt about the direction of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a group of Midwest governors is pushing the Biden administration to make room for high-octane fuels as part of the Safe Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles, or SAFE, rule.

The biofuels industry has been hit by a number of setbacks in court as well as reports the Biden administration would be delaying the release of the already-late Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2021 and 2022.

On Friday, the Governors' Biofuel Coalition asked EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Shalanda Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, to allow for high-octane fuels in the new SAFE rule for light-duty vehicles.

The push for high-octane fuels has taken a back seat to electric vehicles in Washington policy circles so far during the Biden administration.

Gov. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and chairman of the Governors' Biofuels Coalition, along with South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said in a letter to the administration on Friday that high-octane fuels would be a "great opportunity" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while supporting rural economies where corn, ethanol and other crops and biofuels are produces.

"Despite consumer trends toward hybrid and electric vehicles, the reality is that Americans will continue to rely on liquid fuels for decades to come," the governors said in the letter.

"The administration should pursue a balanced approach to fuel-economy standards that acknowledges this reality and provides greater market access for home-grown energy sources with a proven track record of reducing emissions while supporting American jobs. High-octane domestic biofuels like ethanol provide an opportunity to significantly reduce GHGs and improve air quality today and into the future."

The governors said the expansion of the ethanol industry in rural areas "transformed and revived" small towns.

"A revised SAFE rule that provides an expanded market for high-octane ethanol is a means to reduce GHGs and harmful air emissions, provide much needed economic stability in rural America and provide countless health and economic benefits to all Americans," the letter said.

"Without question, higher octane allows automakers to increase engine efficiency and achieve the objectives of the proposed SAFE rule. The use of low-carbon fuels such as ethanol will ensure that octane does not come from carcinogenetic aromatics that release fine particulate emissions associated with respiratory diseases that affect all Americans, especially vulnerable populations and those living in urban areas. The adoption of a revised SAFE rule that does not significantly reduce gasoline aromatics will be a missed opportunity to reduce fine particle pollution while maintaining the healthy and vibrancy of our rural communities."

Read the letter here: https://www.governorsbiofuelscoalition.org/…

Read more on DTN:

"CAFE Standards Rewrite Opens Doors," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow me on Twitter @DTNeeley

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