LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Agriculture and biofuels groups called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to rework proposed new fuel economy standards that they say "greatly missed" the intent of the corporate average fuel economy program, in comments to the federal agency.
In technical comments filed on Monday by the Renewable Fuels Association, National Farmers Union and National Corn Growers Association, the groups said the new requirements would lead to an overreliance on foreign critical minerals because of the agency's support of electric vehicles.
The groups call on NHTSA to work with the EPA to reinstitute "strong incentives" for flexible-fuel vehicles that use American-made ethanol.
"As NHTSA determines the appropriate CAFE and fuel efficiency standards, it should avoid putting all our eggs in the electrification basket," the trade associations wrote in comments.
"NHTSA's current proposal greatly missed the intent of the CAFE program. As Congress has acknowledged, solving energy security and air pollution issues related to the transportation sector requires a diversified portfolio of approaches."
The groups said an overreliance on electric vehicles ignores specific challenges of these new vehicles, such as "the increased energy security vulnerabilities flowing from the critical minerals needed for electric vehicle batteries," as well as the feasibility of the auto industry to produce sufficient volumes, secure needed critical mineral supplies and develop an appropriate workable charging station infrastructure.
"Whether FFVs currently run on gasoline or E85, building up the portion of the fleet capable of running on E85 gives the country an additional option to address potential future oil or critical mineral crises in a way that can protect our national security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"Given vehicles' long useful life, EPA and NHTSA should not wait for a crisis to incentivize FFVs. It will be too late to act if they are suddenly needed to address a crisis. Instead, the country should plan ahead and build fuel diversity into the system now."
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
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