Several ethanol producers from Iowa and South Dakota—representing more than one billion gallons of capacity—called on the ethanol community to focus their near term advocacy efforts on fuel efficiency rules that are likely to be a top priority for the incoming Biden Administration.
In an open letter to the ethanol community published in Biofuels Digest, the producers said the industry was facing some tough questions as to how to overcome a trend line of lowered demand due to a number of factors. Regardless of who is in the White House they say, reduced gasoline demand, an RFS under constant attack, the emergence of electric vehicles, and inconsistent exports are variables that hinder any sustained pathway for growth.
The letter argues that a high-octane low-carbon fuel strategy is a win-win for the ethanol industry, refiners, and automakers.
While E15 provides one point of octane, we have the ability to provide an increase of 2-3 points at the pump and triple ethanol demand from today’s E10! That much ethanol reduces carbon, not just in the fuel, but also at the refinery level by replacing energy intensive aromatics used for octane.
The fuel economy rule established in 2012 was regarded as a significant achievement of the Obama-Biden Administration before the Trump Administration rolled back most of the required efficiency increases. This may be one of the first climate-related measures the new Administration will address.
Ethanol producers and corn growers need to get behind the rewrite of the SAFE Rule and argue for higher octane while enforcing toxics controls, give us a fair reckoning in our carbon footprint, remove barriers such as RVP limits, and allow ethanol to be used in whatever volume the market demands. Incorporating these pieces into a revised future automobile efficiency standard results in an unfettered path for growth and expansion without federal subsidies or mandates.