SD Farmers Union Hails Automaker Endorsement of High Octane Low Carbon Fuels “A Major Breakthrough for U.S. Corn Ethanol Industry”

Posted on: June 28, 2021   |   Categories: E30, News Releases

HURON, SD – South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) President Doug Sombke called the recent letter from the auto industry’s major trade group to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle a “major game changer” because it endorses the immediate use of high octane low carbon (HOLC) fuels like E30 to reduce carbon and toxics emissions. Sombke said the letter from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) was perfectly timed because EPA is finalizing a fuel efficiency rule that is expected to shape U.S. gasoline composition during the decades-long transition to electric vehicles.

The AAI—whose members produce 99 percent of the light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S.—asserted in the letter that “…the use of high octane, low carbon liquid fuels… would simultaneously support vehicle performance, including fuel economy, and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions during vehicle use. Such benefits would be realized by new and existing internal combustion engines and therefore should be encouraged as additional solutions as soon as possible to maximize environmental benefits across the fleet.”

AAI also noted that “High octane, low carbon liquid fuels provide the benefit of lower aromatics, and therefore lower exposure to toxics, when combusted in a vehicle.”

In a recent letter to a senior EPA official,  Daschle warned that if EPA does not move quickly to dramatically reduce gasoline aromatics levels, the rapid adoption of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines will make the most dangerous urban emissions much worse. The Daschle letter warns that “Given the role of aromatic hydrocarbons in PM formation, and given the propensity of GDI engines to increase emissions of UFPs, EPA’s strategies for regulating fine particle pollution in urban areas are doomed to failure unless they significantly reduce gasoline aromatics.”

Sombke said the AAI’s letter was exactly what he’d hoped for when he urged General Motors CEO Mary Barra to correct one of her senior executive’s assertion that a nationwide E30 HOLC fuels “clean octane” standard was a “bridge too far.” 

“The AAI letter’s endorsement of Daschle’s efforts—the centerpiece of which is to establish a national 100 RON higher octane gasoline standard using E30 HOLC fuels to replace carcinogenic aromatics—makes it clear that automakers recognize the important role ethanol can play during the lengthy transition to a decarbonized electric transportation system,” said Sombke. “In fact, the real “bridge too far” is the headlong rush to electric vehicles before all of the critical questions are answered, including serious challenges confronting the supply chain for rare earth metals such as lithium and cobalt used in batteries.”

“The use of slave and child labor, the hidden carbon emissions from lithium and cobalt mining and battery recycling, and the enormous infrastructure challenges confronting the electric vehicle age must be acknowledged and resolved,” said Sombke. “In contrast, U.S. corn ethanol is the most safe, secure, cost effective, and lowest net carbon fuel component. Just as importantly, ethanol is used in all gasoline nationwide today and U.S. farmers and producers can expand quickly.”

Sombke pointed out that advancing from today’s nationwide E10 to a nationwide E30 “clean octane” transportation fuels standard would reduce U.S. oil imports by one billion barrels per year and would double ethanol’s demand for corn starch over the next ten years, providing a substantial boost to the rural economy without need for taxpayer outlays.

SDFU salutes Senator Daschle and his HOLCA Alliance mantra: “E30 by 2030!”

To read the AAI letter to Senator Daschle visit cleanfuelsdc.org.