Ethanol producers contest EPA’s fuel economy tests

May 07, 2024


The Texas Corn Producers, Texas Sorghum Producers, and National Sorghum Producers have taken a stand against the EPA’s latest fuel economy testing procedures. The issue at heart is the updated R-factor used in these tests, which, according to the groups, unjustly penalizes ethanol-blended fuels by relying on outdated scientific data.

The controversy stems from the EPA’s new Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards, which set ambitious targets for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles while sidelining ethanol and other biofuels in the process. By continuing to use pure gasoline (E0) instead of ethanol blends (E10) for vehicle certification, the EPA’s procedures could significantly diminish the perceived efficiency and environmental benefits of ethanol, discouraging its use.

The agricultural groups argue that such measures could lead to a massive reduction in demand for ethanol, a critical product derived from corn and sorghum. They claim that the flawed R-factor not only undermines the economic interests of U.S. farmers but also hampers the broader goal of reducing vehicle emissions through higher ethanol fuel blends.

With the petition filed in the Fifth Circuit, the groups are seeking a review and revision of these test procedures to ensure equitable treatment for all fuel types, reflecting true energy densities and environmental impacts. This legal challenge underscores the growing tension between agricultural interests and federal environmental policies, especially as the country moves towards more sustainable fuel solutions.

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