The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) held a series of three public listening sessions this week on proposed rulemaking for the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule).
The hearings were in Fresno, California on Monday; Dearborn, Michigan on Tuesday; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Growth Energy Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley testified at the Michigan hearing and discussed the benefits of high-octane, midlevel ethanol fuel blends in improving octane and lowering greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. “Ethanol has a very high-octane number, has a lower carbon content than the gasoline components it replaces, and has many other benefits that assist in combustion to increase engine efficiency and reduce both greenhouse gas and tailpipe criteria pollutant emissions,” said Bliley in his testimony.
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings also emphasized how ethanol-enriched, high octane fuel blends between 25 and 30 percent (in the 99-100 RON range) would enable automakers to simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel economy at the hearing in Pittsburgh. “Research indicates the use of 98 to 100 RON fuel containing at least 25 percent ethanol results in 3 to 9 percent efficiency gains in high-compression engines which are beginning to dominate the marketplace,” said Jennings.
Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis also provided testimony at the Pittsburgh hearing. “Clearly, pairing advanced internal combustion engine technologies like high compression ratio and turbocharging with high-octane low carbon fuels would result in far greater fuel economy and emissions benefits than previously contemplated by EPA and NHTSA,” Davis said.