The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) believes Tier 3 motor vehicle fuel and emissions regulations present a significant opportunity to improve energy, economic and environmental security by utilizing a greater portion of biofuels in the transportation sector.
America has made great strides in reducing emissions and improving the efficiency of our transportation system and technologies. But simply utilizing less petroleum, while essentially relying on it as the single transportation fuel source is not sufficient to meet the energy, economic and environmental security we need. What would happen if the Iranians decided to close down the Strait of Hormuz? Despite expanded oil production in our country, the price of oil, determined on the global market, would immediately jump to $150-200 per barrel, severely impacting our economy. There are also many plausible terrorist and natural disaster scenarios that would produce a similar impact.
Every barrel, every percentage of oil that we can displace as America’s primary fuel for transportation with clean, domestic biofuels mitigates against the potential negative impact of an oil price spike on our government, military, overall economy and individual consumers. Therefore, efforts to improve vehicle emissions and reduce sulfur content must include the utilization of greater amounts of clean, domestic biofuel.
Higher amounts of biofuel in our gasoline have significant economic benefits. In 2011, an ethanol blend of 10% reduced gasoline prices by $1.09. At the same time, over 200 ethanol plants and refineries supported economic growth across America’s heartland. As a whole, the ethanol industry employs over 400,000 Americans across the country, especially in rural regions of the country, and is doing so during a time where many Americans need steady employment and good jobs.
The economic benefits of incorporating higher amounts of ethanol into our gasoline are significant, but so are the positive environmental impacts at the local, regional and global level. Higher octane/ higher ethanol content gasoline will reduce the harmful air emissions that lead to an estimated 50,000 premature deaths a year. Ethanol is the cleanest and most affordable source of octane on the market today, displacing toxic aromatics such as benzene and toluene. In addition, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50% when compared directly to gasoline.
In summary, we believe that enabling greater amounts of biofuels in our transportation energy portfolio with the EPA’s Tier 3 motor fuel and emissions regulations will have significant long term benefits for our nation’s energy, economic and environmental security.