How Policymakers can Harness the Power of America’s Farms for a Cleaner and Affordable Energy Future

February 10, 2023

How Policymakers can Harness the Power of America’s Farms for a Cleaner and Affordable Energy Future

Feb 10, 2023

Key Issues:Ethanol

Author: The National Corn Growers Association

As the 118th Congress gets underway, advancing the nation’s long-term energy security while combatting climate change is a leading priority for policymakers. Renewable fuels, such as ethanol, are critical for a cleaner, affordable energy future, and there are several bipartisan steps Washington could take to further advance this immediate climate solution. Expanding access to ethanol is a win-win for consumers and the environment by supporting long-term relief at the pump and reducing emissions.


Next Generation Fuels Act


The Next Generation Fuels Act is a low-cost solution that would help diversify the nation’s fuel supply, improve vehicle engine efficiency, decarbonize transportation and give drivers affordable choices. This bipartisan legislation would establish a clean, high-octane standard for gasoline and require that sources of additional octane result in at least 40% fewer emissions, allowing automakers to significantly improve vehicle fuel efficiency, all while supporting rural America. The Next Generation Fuels Act would also complement a federal clean fuel standard, supporting greater decarbonization of liquid fuels.


Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act


Another key component to a bipartisan energy agenda is the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. This legislation will ensure full market access for E15, often labeled as Unleaded 88 at the pump — supporting market certainty and affordable, low-carbon fuel options at the pump. Last summer, drivers who chose E15 saved 16 cents per gallon on average. This legislation would not only open the door to a staggering $20.6 billion in annual savings for consumers — it’s also an important step forward for a cleaner energy future. That’s why it’s supported by a broad coalition of more than 250 organizations and companies.


The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) 


In the face of global uncertainty and rising climate threats, the Renewable Fuel Standard is just as relevant today than when it was first put in place almost two decades ago. Since then, the RFS has been a resounding success in expanding America’s fuel supply, lowering costs for drivers and reducing emissions. In fact, according to the Department of Energy’s Argonne Lab, today’s ethanol now results in up to 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline. America’s corn farmers are critical for the continued success of the RFS through higher corn yields and enhanced sustainability, and as the EPA begins a new phase of this program, there’s an opportunity to enable ethanol to contribute even more as a climate and energy solution. 


Implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act


Implementing the climate programs and tax credits of the Inflation Reduction Act – signed into law last year — are imperative for clean energy innovation and security. These key biofuel provisions, if applied with an accurate lifecycle carbon assessment — including the benefits of sustainable aviation fuel and clean fuel production — will spur greater carbon emission reductions and rural economic growth. NCGA submitted comments to USDA, Treasury, and the IRS to ensure corn farmers have a seat at the table when it comes to implementation of these important biofuel programs and tax credits and ultimately to expand the role of ethanol in reducing emissions and providing consumers with affordable fuel choices.