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ACE Urges NHTSA to Develop a More Technology-Neutral Approach to Meet Fuel Economy Standards

Sioux Falls, SD (October 16, 2023) – American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings submitted feedback to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today on its proposed rulemaking for Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks for Model Years 2027–2032 and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans for Model Years 2030–2035, calling on NHTSA to develop a technology-neutral approach to meet fuel economy standards and decarbonize transportation fuel.
“In contrast to NHTSA’s proposed rule and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) so-called “multipollutant proposal” for model years 2027 through 2032, we support technology-neutral policies which provide market participants with a host of options for compliance, because the tasks of decarbonizing the transportation sector and maximizing fuel economy are too important and complex for a one-size-fits-all solution,” Jennings stated in submitted comments.
ACE’s comments discuss 1) legal problems associated with the proposal including vehicles that operate only on electricity, 2) the economic feasibility of NHTSA’s proposed rule, 3) energy security and environmental concerns about the proposal, and 4) how high-octane fuels such as higher ethanol blends should be part of the solution to achieve fuel economy standards and reduce carbon pollution from transportation emissions.
First, according to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Congress clearly states NHTSA may not consider the fuel economy of electric only vehicles. Second, the one-size-fits-all solution, proposed by NHTSA and EPA, with respect to decarbonizing and improving the efficiency of the U.S. light-duty vehicle transportation sector is not economically feasible. Third, whereas the U.S. must rely on foreign nations to supply the U.S. with the critical minerals and batteries needed for electric vehicles, the U.S. is the world’s leading producer of corn feedstock for making fuel ethanol and the top supplier of ethanol as well. Fourth, ethanol delivers the highest octane at the lowest cost, allowing automakers to benefit by continuing to develop high-compression engines to achieve efficiency improvements and reduced emissions.
“If the overarching goal for the Biden Administration is net-zero emissions by mid-century, let’s start making progress right now by taking full advantage of the 15 billion gallons of domestically produced ethanol available today as an affordable way to boost octane and meaningfully reduce GHG emissions from gasoline powered engines,” Jennings comments concluded.
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