The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Executive Vice President Brian Jennings testified today during the public hearing in Washington, D.C. on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Reconsideration of the Final Determination of the Midterm Evaluation (MTE) of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Model Year (MY) 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicles.

“Unfortunately, the January determination issued by former Administrator McCarthy missed the opportunity to provide high-octane blends a role in improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions,” Jennings said. “EPA instructed automakers to do a job but wouldn’t give them access to one of the most useful tools in the toolbox.”

On March 15, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that EPA intended to reconsider the final determination issued on Jan. 12. EPA is required to make a final determination regarding the appropriateness of the MY 2022-2025 standards no later than April 1, 2018.

“…We are encouraged by EPA’s reconsideration of the final determination and applaud the Agency for inviting comment on the ‘impact of the standards on advanced fuels technology, including…the potential for high-octane blends,’” Jennings said.

Jennings’ testimony provided examples of researchers and automakers supporting the need for increasing the octane rating of fuel, citing Derek Splitter’s work with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which found “…it is hard to argue the current stagnant fuel octane number can be sustained over the long term…increasing the octane offers significant motivation to achieve fuel economy and CO2 targets.”

Also, as early as 2011, an Auto Alliance letter asked EPA to increase the octane rating of fuel, recommending that EPA begin “increasing the minimum octane rating, commensurate with increased use of ethanol.”

Jennings closed by stating that EPA should establish a minimum octane for fuel and encourage the continued production of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) as a bridge to emerging engine technologies which will be optimized to take advantage of the high-octane benefits of blends such as E25 and 30. ACE believes continued production of FFVs is especially important given 10 percent of vehicles on the road can use flex fuels, and the record growth and investment in retail infrastructure over the past two years.

The EPA has a 45-day public comment period open until Oct. 5, inviting stakeholders to submit data and information they believe are relevant to the Administrator’s reconsideration of the January 2017 MTE final determination.