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Ag Disappointed in Tailpipe Emissions Rule

Progressive Farmer’s Todd Neeley reported Wednesday that “the Biden administration finalized national pollution standards for vehicles through 2032, leaving next to no room for ethanol and other biofuels as a tool to cut emissions.”

“While the new standards give automakers some flexibility in how they reduce emissions, the standards do little to use ethanol and other biofuels to reduce pollution,” Neeley reported.

Courtesy of the US EPA
What the Standards Say

Axios’ Andrew Freedman reported Wednesday that the new standards “set emissions rules for light-duty vehicles including cars, SUVs and light trucks for model years 2027-2032.”

“The rules do not mandate that automakers transition their fleets over to sell more EVs by a certain date,” Freedman reported. “But with tighter emissions curbs, manufacturers are likely to favor more EVs to comply with the rules.”

“A fact sheet given to reporters shows that during 2030-2032 manufacturing years, carmakers may choose to produce 30% to 56% of new light duty vehicle sales as battery electric vehicles, with the rest consisting of a mix of other clean vehicle technologies,” Freedman wrote. “The rule would still allow for the production and sale of gasoline-powered vehicles.”

ABC News’ Kelly Livingston reported that “officials explained that these new standards will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 7.2 billion metric tons through 2055. That’s about four times the total emissions of the transportation sector as of 2021.”

“The standards are also expected to have public health impacts, with officials saying they will prevent up to 2,500 premature deaths in 2055 and reduce health issues such as heart attack, aggravated asthma and decreased lung function,” Livingston reported.

Why Ag and Biofuels Groups are Disappointed

Neeley reported that “the National Corn Growers Association said the standards will harm farmers and ranchers and their rural communities. ‘The plan still relies almost exclusively on the use of electric vehicles, requiring that a majority of the specified fleets are electric in less than a decade,’ the NCGA said in a statement. ‘A decision of this magnitude will have long-lasting negative implications for the rural economy because it ignores the benefits of ethanol.'”

“Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said the final EPA rule will make it more difficult for the ethanol industry to expand the use of flexible-fuel vehicles,” Neeley wrote.

“‘Clearly, the substantive concerns raised by automakers, ethanol producers, fuel suppliers, consumer groups, and many others went unheard by the White House and EPA. Today’s final rule effectively forces automakers to produce more battery electric vehicles based on the false premise that they are ‘zero-emission vehicles.’ At the same time, the regulation would strongly discourage manufacturers from pursuing other technologies like flex fuel vehicles and engines optimized to operate on high-octane, low-carbon ethanol, that could achieve superior environmental performance at a lower cost to American consumers,'” Cooper said in a statement, according to Neeley.

“Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said in a statement the Biden administration should turn to nationwide E15 availability to curb vehicle pollution,” Neeley wrote. “‘Continuing to force EVs on automakers and the public will only exacerbate their serious environmental, safety and human rights concerns. More practical, market-driven changes like allowing the year-round sale of E15 ethanol would help achieve environmental goals for America’s vehicle fleet.'”

Ryan Hanrahan is the farm policy news editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism).

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