Tricia Braid

Jul 16, 2019  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Ethanol |  Legislation & Regulation

Increased ethanol market demand will help farmers weather the poor ag economy. 

That's why one of IL Corn’s 2019 legislative priorities is to: Support multiple pathways that improve market access for higher ethanol blends. 

Why do ethanol blends matter?

  • Better fuel (high-octane, low-carbon (HOLC)) is needed now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy.
  • Ethanol is available now to provide HOLC fuel at least cost to consumers.
  • Infrastructure upgrades are in process now and will support an on-time transition to ethanol-based HOLC fuel by 2024.
  • EPA is required to assure protection of health of Americans at least cost and best value.

With these principles in mind, the agriculture, ethanol and automotive industries are working together to ensure that these fuels are readily available to provide the best environmental performance in the field to customers by 2024. Policies to enable higher-octane midlevel ethanol blends will signal demand to the market, driving a ramp-up in production of biomass feedstocks and domestically produced renewable fuel.

Feedstocks are ready.

  • Renewable fuel feedstock production capacity is abundantly available, total U.S. agricultural land use will not be affected, and crop yield is increasing to the level needed to supply 25+% of gasoline for light duty vehicles in decades to come.
  • Renewable feedstocks from U.S. agriculture are available to produce increasing volumes of ethanol.

Ethanol is ready.

  • Ethanol is available, remains the least-cost octane enhancer, and can increase domestically produced renewable fuel volumes immediately to keep pace with consumer demand.
  • No major, sweeping capital programs are needed or expected to enable supply of mid-level ethanol product to the market by a 2024 MY timeframe.

Transportation, regional and retail storage, blending, and distribution systems will be ready.

  • Distribution of ethanol by rail, truck and pipeline continues to expand with growing demand. Terminals and transport modes are capable of adjusting to increasing ethanol blend ratios.
  • At-station storage tanks have been compatible with ethanol blends up to E100 for many years. Fuel terminals which store and blend liquid fuels already blend ethanol into over 95% of all U.S. gasoline.
  • The transition of aboveground equipment to E25+ compatibility has already begun and will be capable of supplying fuel to all vehicles that can use it by the fall of 2023 as outdated equipment is replaced.

EPA acknowledges that high-octane gasoline can reduce emissions at lower cost when coupled with advancing vehicle combustion technologies. EPA can take steps to enable midlevel blends – up to and including a high-octane, mid-level certification fuel specification:

  • Unilaterally, as regulating octane is enabled by strong encouragement from members of Congress.
  • If directed to do so via legislation.