New EPA Rule Ignores Ethanol as a Solution and Threatens Rural Economies

Mar 20, 2024  |  Ethanol

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced their final climate rule on vehicle emissions standards for sedans and light- and medium-duty trucks. While this rule is supposed to outline a path forward to address climate change, improve air quality, and protect public health, it ignores a home-grown solution that is already available to consumers – ethanol.


We are disappointed that this rule relies almost entirely on the use of electric vehicles (EVs), forcing a one-size-fits-all solution and ignoring the immediate benefits of biofuels like ethanol.


What is the EPA ruling

The final EPA ruling requires automakers to cut average CO2 emissions by 52% between 2027 and 2032 and ensure EVs make up about 67% of all new vehicles by 2032. This ambitious rule challenges automakers to unrealistically manufacture EVs in a short period of time, significantly limits consumers’ options at the car dealership and the pump, threatens the success of farmers, and jeopardizes rural economies. This is not a sound rule for any of the affected parties.


This is a decision that does not benefit automakers, rural communities, or consumers who are robbed of the choice to buy the vehicle that works for them. Without action from Congress, this rule will have long-lasting negative implications on rural economies and family farms.  


The transition away from biofuels and exclusively to EVs could permanently decrease the price of corn by 50%. A structural loss in corn demand this large would cause the top five corn-producing states – Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota and Indiana – to collectively lose more than $100 billion in farmland value from corn acreage alone. This will not keep our trusted, American family farmers in business, and it will have profound implications on our nation’s food supply. Beyond this, entire communities would be impacted as rural businesses and schools that rely on property taxes from these family farms would lose critical funding.


To ensure support for America’s small-business family farms and to meet America’s clean energy goals, Congress should build technology neutral legislation that allows access to and levels the playing field for all fuels and innovations – thus harnessing the full benefits that ethanol has to offer.


Tell Congress it’s time to advance the Next Generation Fuels Act

Policymakers must focus on a broad range of solutions to succeed in cutting average CO2 emissions. Thankfully, there is already legislation on the table with the Next Generation Fuels Act. This act calls for greater decarbonization of liquid fuels by establishing a clean, high-octane standard for gasoline that capitalizes on American-grown biofuels. This would bolster innovation, optimize engine builds and design, improve sustainability efforts in the auto industry, and strengthen rural economies.


Ethanol blended fuel is a high-octane, low-carbon option made from home-grown corn. It results in up to 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline — the exact same emissions reduction target the EPA set for the coming years.


Ethanol has vast environmental benefits that advance America’s clean energy future, it also has numerous economic benefits. Fueling up with ethanol saves Americans an average of 25 cents per gallon at the pump and positively impacts the economy by creating thousands of jobs across rural communities and the nation. Adding ethanol to America’s gasoline supply reduces the nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources, increasing U.S. energy independence and security.


The benefits of ethanol are clear, and the Next Generation Fuels Act will take advantage of them by ensuring consumer access to a variety of clean fuel and vehicle options, while simultaneously supporting family farms, rural economies, and the auto industry in the pursuit of a net-zero-carbon future.

To achieve this clean energy future, Congress must support a solution with a broader approach, and pass the Next Generation Fuels Act.