EPA Opens Door to Conversation about High Octane Fuels

After being one of the first to embrace and encourage high octane fuels as a solution for reducing emissions and improving air quality, the Urban Air Initiative is relieved to finally see octane included in the latest EPA discussion about fuel economy standards.

For the CAFE/GHG standards, the  Environmental  Protection Agency's (EPA) put out a notice for proposed rulemaking seeking public comments on if and how it could support the production and use of higher octane gasoline.  The EPA is considering fuel economy standards between 2021-2026, after taking another look at what was put in place by the previous administration.  

Urban Air believes the latest proposal is an encouraging step for high octane fuels such as ethanol to play a much larger role in improving fuel economy standards and reducing carbon emissions. Our nation's vehicles can only be as clean and efficient as the fuels that power them.

Since 2010, Urban Air Technical Director Steve Vander Griend has researched the value of ethanol's octane. He's lead our efforts during the years to encourage EPA to consider the role of fuel and octane when it comes to fuel economy standards. " I hope that EPA doesn't make the same mistake twice, and this time listens to all of the people saying high octane fuels will make a huge difference to improve mileage and reduce emissions," Vander Griend said.

In 2016 and 2017 Urban Air and other partners filed formal comments related to the issue. High octane ethanol blends  would substantially benefit the nation's economy, environment, and energy security, and would save consumers and auto manufacturers billions of dollars. It would also be the most cost effective option for meeting tighter fuel efficiency and carbon reduction standards.

The EPA says it included the request for comments after receiving input from industry stakeholders and the automotive industry, which support high octane blends as a way to enable greenhouse gas reducing technologies such as higher compression ration engines. Stakeholders suggested mid-level ethanol blends should be considered and made available at more gas stations.

We will continue to use our technical research to help educate the EPA on the need to improve our fuel in order to improve fuel efficiency and emissions.