Congress can empower automakers with emission reduction solutions

By the National Corn Growers Association

America’s clean energy future is within reach, but to get there, we must reduce emissions from the transportation sector—the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Fortunately, a solution already exists at gas stations throughout the country.

Ethanol, produced from corn grown on family farms throughout the heartland, is a low-cost, low-carbon fuel, often labeled at the pump as E15 or UNL88 — a 15% ethanol blend — or E85 — an 85% ethanol blend.

Ethanol is a critical solution for meeting the nation’s energy, economic and environmental needs. In fact, this biofuel already results in up to 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline, saves drivers at least 25 cents per gallon and adds nearly 15 billion gallons to our nation’s gasoline supply each year.

In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a vehicle emissions standards proposal that calls for the increased production and transition to electric vehicles (EVs), challenging automakers to unrealistically increase EV manufacturing in the coming years.

To meet the administration’s ambitious emissions reduction goals, policymakers should focus on a broad range of solutions, including ethanol. Fortunately, there is legislation on the table that can help the U.S. get one step closer to achieving these goals.

The Next Generation Fuels Act is bipartisan legislation introduced in both the House and the Senate that would clean up the nation’s fuel supply by expanding ethanol usage and allow automakers to significantly improve vehicle fuel efficiency through advanced engines.

The legislation calls for greater decarbonization of liquid fuels by establishing a clean, high-octane standard for gasoline and requires that sources of additional octane result in at least 40% fewer emissions — harnessing the full power of ethanol.

While we all share the administration’s goal of lowering emissions, our leaders should support the use of multiple solutions through the Next Generation Fuels Act—a broader approach beyond EVs that empowers automakers with a range of options to reduce emissions in the transportation sector.

Passing this legislation is critical to reducing carbon emissions and meeting the EPA’s standards. By harnessing the power of all low-carbon fuel and technology solutions, the Next Generation Fuels Act keeps the auto industry moving forward in pursuit of a net-zero-carbon future. What’s more, it demonstrates that lower-cost, lower-carbon fuels are an alternative to an all-EV future and allows consumer access to a variety of clean vehicle and fuel options, including ethanol.

The benefits of ethanol and the Next Generation Fuels Act are clear. Now it’s time for Congress to see them through and bring us one step closer to making America’s clean energy future a reality.

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