Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and a bipartisan group of co-sponsors this week introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act of 2021, establishing a high-octane, low-carbon fuel standard. A similar bill was introduced last September.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the bill lays out an “innovative roadmap to more efficient, more affordable, lower-carbon fuels.”
Specifically, the Bustos bill would establish high-octane (95 and 98 RON) certification test fuels containing 20-30 percent ethanol, while requiring automobile manufacturers to design and warrant their vehicles for the use of these fuels beginning with model year 2026. The bill also includes a low-carbon requirement, specifying that the source of the octane boost must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by an average of at least 40% compared to a 2021 gasoline baseline, as measured by the Department of Energy’s GREET model. The legislation also includes a restriction on the aromatics content of gasoline, ensures parity in the regulation of gasoline volatility (Reid vapor pressure), corrects key variables used in fuel economy testing and compliance, requires an update to the EPA’s MOVES model, ensures infrastructure compatibility, and addresses many other regulations impeding the deployment of higher octane blends at the retail level.
However, American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says faulty carbon accounting in the bill would penalize
efficient ethanol producers.
“While this legislation checks much off the ethanol industry wish list, like the previous version, its inadequate approach to carbon accounting would undermine many ACE-member plants and other U.S. dry mill producers who have made investments to reduce the carbon intensity of their ethanol,” said Jennings.
He says the act contains a new “low carbon” octane standard which requires high octane fuel to be produced from sources with average lifecycle GHG emissions at least 40 percent cleaner than gasoline. “Because every ethanol facility has its own unique carbon intensity (CI), the legislation’s use of “average” on pages 29-31 of the bill text to determine the lifecycle GHG emissions of ethanol shortchanges many producers like Poet, KAAPA, Little Sioux Corn Processors, Ringneck Energy and dozens like them that have invested in technology innovations to reduce the CI of their fuel.”