RELEASE: Bustos Introduces “Bold and Innovative” Legislation to Reduce Vehicle Emissions, Limit Harmful Aromatics and Increase Biofuels Demand

Industry leaders praise bill, Bustos as champion for clean liquid fuels

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17) introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act, legislation that leverages greater fuel octane to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, improve air quality by reducing the use of harmful aromatics and increase demand for biofuels. 

Fuels with greater levels of octane are more stable and have the potential to make engines more fuel-efficient. This legislation establishes a minimum octane standard for gasoline and requires sources of the added octane value to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30 percent compared to baseline gasoline.  Furthermore, the legislation limits the use of harmful aromatics in meeting this new higher octane standard, as well as in current-market gasoline. 

“For the last three and a half years, we have been forced to fight battle after battle and face this Administration’s broken promise after broken promise to ensure our country is meeting the full potential of biofuels,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “The Next Generation Fuels Act looks toward the future to make sure we bring an environmental lens to biofuels production, in order to increase demand while reducing carbon emissions.”

“Congresswoman Bustos has been a real champion for agriculture and the benefits of low carbon ethanol. The Next Generation Fuels Act builds on the success of the Renewable Fuel Standard in advancing corn growers’ commitment to providing the lowest cost, most efficient, and environmentally friendly fuel available,” said National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross. “NCGA is thankful for the Congresswoman’s leadership to advance renewable fuels by introducing this legislation and we look forward to working with her to build support for policies that take greater advantage of ethanol’s benefits.” 

“There has never been a more urgent need to adopt higher octane, low-carbon ethanol blends in America’s fuel supply, as they are key to achieving clean, healthy air,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We applaud Congresswoman Bustos for charting a path forward that will unleash clean, affordable ethanol to drive decarbonization in our nation’s transportation fleet and save consumers money at the fuel pump.” 

“The Next Generation Fuels Act of 2020 provides a bold and innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions, improving engine efficiency and performance, protecting human health, and removing the arcane regulatory roadblocks that have hindered the expansion of cleaner, greener liquid fuels,” said Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “By establishing the roadmap for an orderly transition to high-octane, low-carbon fuels, this landmark legislation begins an exciting  new era in transportation fuels policy. As the world’s top supplier of clean, affordable, low-carbon octane,  the U.S. ethanol industry proudly and enthusiastically supports this legislation. We thank Rep. Bustos for her thoughtful leadership and determined efforts to craft and introduce this bill, and we look forward to working together to make this bold vision a reality.”

BACKGROUND

Due to ethanol’s high octane rating, low-carbon, high-octane ethanol blends results in both additional fuel efficiency and significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefits. Ethanol is also priced lower than gasoline, making it the most cost-effective octane source.

By requiring the new high octane fuel to utilize low-carbon sources, the Next Generation Fuels Act will decarbonize liquid fuels as vehicle technologies advance. This requirement, coupled with a new limit on harmful aromatics content, ensures that progress already made to lower emissions continues. 

Using more petroleum-based sources to increase fuel octane would produce more carbon emissions, erase GHG reduction benefits from improved fuel economy and result in more emissions of harmful hydrocarbon aromatics, which degrade air quality and respiratory health.

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