Farm Organization Calls New Auto Emissions Rules 'Unfair'

The farm-based alliance 25x'25 says the Obama administrations light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and corporate average fuel economy tilt the field against biofuels.

Published on: Sep 6, 2012

The 25x'25 Alliance's preliminary review of the final rule outlining 2017 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards reveals that it does not provide a level playing field for each vehicle technology nor does it recognize the full life-cycle carbon dioxide reduction benefits that biofuels provide.

In comments on the rule filed earlier in the year with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 25x'25 and a group of partners urged the agencies to provide more robust incentives which would create greater certainty for the future manufacturing of alternative fuel vehicles and additional credit for biofuel usage based on sound science.

Farm Organization Calls New Auto Emissions Rules Unfair
Farm Organization Calls New Auto Emissions Rules 'Unfair'

The final rule, which was released today, did not provide the "multiplier incentive" the Alliance sought for calculating GHG emissions of alternative fuel vehicles. The final rule, however, did provide multiplier incentives for other vehicle technologies, including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and compressed natural gas vehicles.

In issuing the rule, EPA and NHTSA also rejected the Alliance's call for the standards to account for the full life-cycle CO2 reduction benefits of biofuels. The standards that were adopted will assess biofuel GHG emissions solely on tail pipe emissions. In addition, the rule did not accept the Alliance's recommendation for maintaining meaningful flex fuel vehicle incentives by using an alternative methodology for calculating GHG emission reductions from E85 usage.

Most importantly, the Alliance believes the proposed rule eliminates a statutory incentive designed to increase alternative fuel usage, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen U.S. energy security.  This contradiction affects a wide range of alternatives, including biofuels and natural gas, and puts the rule in direct conflict with national priorities such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and the Energy Independence and Security Act.

The incentives called for by 25x'25 and other partners would provide a catalyst intended to help solve the "chicken and egg" problem of getting cars, fuel providers and consumers to collectively begin to make the crucial jump to cleaner, domestically produced alternatives to foreign oil. Unfortunately the final rule did not incorporate these incentives.

In the coming days 25x'25 will more fully assess the 1,994-page rule before deciding on a next course of action.