Farmers Union weighs in on EPA’s emission standards


ST. PAUL – Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized new greenhouse gas emission standards for passenger cars and light trucks through model year 2026. Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the agency raised the overall emission standard, but disappointed EPA didn’t include requirements that could have increased the use of ethanol.

“I know that electric vehicles are part of the mix needed in the nation’s vehicle fleet, but biofuels have a big role to play in the future of transportation too,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “Even more importantly, higher biofuel blends can make our transportation fleet cleaner now, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The EPA missed an opportunity by not including a pathway to high octane fuels, like higher level blends of ethanol, in the final rule,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew. “We are disappointed that the benefits of high-octane fuels continue to be ignored and urge the administration to include it in the next rule making for Model Year 2027 and beyond.”

The standards announced by EPA will reach 40 miles per gallon value on fuel economy window stickers by 2026, increasing standards by 5 percent to 10 percent in each model year. The standards result in 3.1 billion tons of avoided CO2 emissions through 2050.

In June 2020, NFU, along with a broad coalition of ethanol, agricultural and public interest groups, filed a legal challenge against the EPA’s for its Safer Affordable Fuel Efficiency Vehicle Rule (SAFER) on the grounds that it ignored the efficiency and health benefits of higher ethanol blends and failed to realize the promise of increased octane in gasoline.