Aug 30, 2012  |  Today's News

Nearly seven months ago, the Illinois Corn Growers Association and National Corn Growers Association wrote comments to the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Center regarding the proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards or CAFE Standards. A release this week proves that our comments and suggestions were ignored.

ICGA offered improvements to the proposed CAFE Standards, which dictate the miles per gallon and greenhouse gas emissions new cars must have by 2017.  Our suggestions included allowing all fuel and vehicle technologies to compete on a level playing field instead of favoring one over another as well as encouraging the production of flex fuel vehicles which complement the goals of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

In the ICGA comments, Jeff Scates, President, said, “We are concerned that the proposed CAFE/GHG rule is inconsistent with the RFS2 (Renewable Fuels Standard II) regulation and the EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act) requirement to use 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2022 in several areas.  In other regulatory actions, EPA continues to express support for achieving the requirements of RFS2, yet there is no mention in the CAFE/GHG rule concerning the role of renewable alternative fuels in achieving the required GHG reductions.”

What the newly released guidelines did accomplish is a rule that will favor electric vehicles in the coming years.  These vehicles are likely to be very painful on consumer pocketbooks.  Experts estimate that this regulatory action could cost a total of $185-$209 billion over the life of the 13 year program in consumer costs. 

Alternatively, America could continue along the path of the RFS2, encouraging investment and use of domestic biofuels, with a much lower price tag.  The technologies for biofuels production and FFV vehicle production are already in place with a significantly smaller price tag than electric vehicle production for consumers.  At the very least, the industry had hoped that the administration wouldn’t punish biofuels with these latest standards.

A statement from 25x’25, a coalition united behind the goal of securing 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs from renewable sources by the year 2025, said, “Most importantly, the Alliance believes the proposed rule eliminates a statutory incentive designed to increase alternative fuel usage, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen U.S. energy security.  This contradiction affects a wide range of alternatives, including biofuels and natural gas, and puts the rule in direct conflict with national priorities such as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

“The incentives called for by 25x’25 and other partners would provide a catalyst intended to help solve the “chicken and egg” problem of getting cars, fuel providers, and consumers to collectively begin to make the crucial jump to cleaner, domestically produced alternatives to foreign oil.  Unfortunately the final rule did not incorporate these incentives.”

Unfortunately, indeed.