RFA Urges CARB to Use More Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to allow greater market access for ethanol blended fuel to help the state reach its climate policy objectives.

According to comments submitted by RFA, ethanol has played a key role in the success of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and could do more if certain regulatory actions are taken to allow greater market access.

CARB held a hearing last week to consider amendments that would expand the LCFS through 2030 and increase the stringency of the required carbon intensity (CI) reductions and RFA Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper provided oral testimony at the hearing in addition to the group’s written comments.

CARB’s own data show that ethanol is responsible for reducing GHG emissions by 14.5 million metric tons (CO2-equivalent), or 45% of the total reductions achieved under the LCFS to date, RFA noted in its comments. In addition, data released by CARB last week shows that the ethanol used in California has an average CI that is 31% lower than gasoline.

RFA’s comments offered several recommendations that would allow ethanol to make even greater contributions to the LCFS goals, including:

• Expediting approval of new pathway petitions for cellulosic ethanol produced from grain kernel fiber.
• Amending current regulations to allow for the sale of E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) in California. A recent study by Life Cycle Associates shows that introduction of E15 would significantly increase LCFS credit generation, reduce gasoline consumption, and enhance the near- and long-term sustainability of the program. If California allows the sale of E15 beginning in 2020, the study shows cumulative GHG reductions achieved under the LCFS increase by 15-19 MMT CO2e by 2030, depending on the mix of ethanol sources.
• Revising default lifecycle GHG assessment model assumptions regarding grain sorghum production.
• Beginning a process to consider other options for further decarbonizing the remaining liquid fuels in the California mark

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Low Carbon Fuel Standard, RFA