Future for Mid-Level Blends Hangs in the Balance with Proposed CAFE Rule

  • Thursday, 02 August 2018 14:46

The EPA and Department of Transportation’s proposal to freeze Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards at 2020 levels could derail a promising future for mid-level blends of ethanol.

The lynch pin for mid-level blends of ethanol, ranging from 25 percent to 40 percent, was the CAFE Standard which had set targets for higher fuel economy for cars by 2025. The Department of Energy (DOE) has previously said that vehicles equipped with high compression ratio engines that use the high octane ethanol blends mentioned above would achieve higher mileage while reducing emissions.

But the proposed CAFE rule takes the pressure off automakers to use such advanced engine technology which would have paved the way for higher blends of ethanol.

Nonetheless, in the proposed rule, reference is made to comments from proponents, including the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, of using mid-level ethanol blends to achieve higher fuel economy. 

It should be noted that this reference does not give a green light to mid-level blends but rather sets forth an issue for which additional input is sought from all parties to the matter, including proponents and opponents of higher ethanol blends. 

We now have less than two months to give a full throated rebuttal to the technology roll back in this rule and argue the case for mid-level blends to ensure it doesn’t get left by the roadside.