Bright future for both ethanol and EVs, Dinneen tells Congress

By Renewable Fuels Association | May 09, 2018

Electric vehicles (EVs) can play a complementary and synergistic role with ethanol-based, high-octane liquid fuels, providing American drivers with even greater choice and better environmental performance in the future, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen testified May 8 before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment.

“We believe the future is bright for U.S.-produced ethanol and other emerging biofuel technologies,” Dinneen said in prepared testimony. “There is no disagreement that new technologies will coexist with conventional technology; they are not mutually exclusive….Indeed, emerging technologies that utilize ethanol’s unique properties in hybrid electric technology, and even fuel-cell powered vehicles, demonstrate that low-carbon ethanol and electricity can be a winning solution to address future climate and energy security issues,” he noted.

“…[W]e see electric vehicles as fellow travelers on our road toward energy independence and de-carbonization. It will take all innovative technologies for us to succeed,” Dinneen continued.

However, to ensure this symbiosis continues to develop, a level playing field is needed, Dinneen explained. “While EVs will undoubtedly play an expanding role in the future of our transportation sector, it is imperative that energy, environmental, and transportation policies are designed in a manner that ensures a level playing field and fair market access for all future vehicle and fuel options.”

Dinneen also told the subcommittee:

- Pairing advanced internal combustion engine technologies with high octane, low carbon (HOLC) fuels would result in low-cost fuel economy and emissions benefits in the near term: “Studies using a high octane, mid-level ethanol blend also demonstrate that fuel economy and vehicle range using HOLC blends like E25 and E30 is equivalent or superior to performance using E10, even though the E25 and E30 blends have lower energy density;”

 - Increasing octane should not come at the expense of air quality, carbon emissions, or human health. Without protecting public health, “there is the potential that increasing gasoline octane could result in unnecessary backsliding on criteria air pollutants, air toxics, and other harmful emissions linked to certain high-octane hydrocarbons. When it comes to air quality and human health, not all octane sources are created equal. Ethanol reduces criteria pollutants, and is the only source of octane that is truly renewable and results in a significant reduction in carbon;” and

 - Existing fuel policies, specifically the Renewable Fuel Standard, need to be implemented as designed, to maximize renewable energy technologies. “…EPA is currently undermining the program’s effectiveness by systematically destructing biofuel demand at the expense of consumers demanding choice and savings at the pump, and farmers facing economic peril as the cost of production increasingly exceeds market prices….EPA’s attack on the RFS must end. The agency should work toward demand creation by allowing the year-round use of higher ethanol blends and cease its demand destruction campaign,” he said. EPA’s recent “actions send the wrong signals to the fuel producers and automakers who are poised to make huge investments in the next generation of fuels and vehicles.”

To view a full copy of Dinneen’s prepared testimony, click here