A letter signed by 3,466 farmers from across the country was sent to President Biden today expressing concern that his administration is taking a short-sighted approach to addressing climate change by prioritizing the use of electric vehicles over biofuels, such as corn ethanol, as it works to drastically lower the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“If we are going to address climate change and meet our sustainability goals, we are going to have to take a multi-pronged approach, that includes tapping into higher levels of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, which offers an immediate climate solution,” the letter said.
The letter, which drew thousands of signatures in less than a week, comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prepares to release its light- and medium-duty vehicle tailpipe emissions standards for 2027-2032. To help meet the standards, the president has set a goal that 50% of all vehicle sales will be electric by 2030. A similar rulemaking is also being considered through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A recent survey, sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and conducted by Morning Consult, showed that Americans have concerns on a range of issues involving electric vehicles, including the accessibility of charging stations, and an overwhelming majority say vehicles that are compatible with biofuels should remain available to consumers.
In January, thousands of auto dealers from across the country signed on to a similar letter to the president noting that electric vehicles were not selling quickly and were piling up on dealer lots.
In the most recent letter, the farmers said it could take years before EVs become popular with consumers, which means the administration must expand its focus and efforts to address GHGs with solutions that are available now.
“As a low-carbon, clean energy source and an affordable, homegrown fuel, ethanol serves as a critical pathway for agriculture and rural America to contribute to a sustainable future,” the letter noted. “We hope you will join us in fully embracing this technology as we all do our best to fight the causes and effects of climate change.”
The letter noted that California, one of the most prominent states in the push for electrification has spent years at the forefront of the transition to EVs, spending enormous political capital and billions of dollars to encourage its citizens to embrace these vehicles. Yet, by the end of 2022, only 2.6% of the state’s light-duty vehicles were electrified.
Gas stations nationwide currently carry fuel with at least 10% ethanol blends, though selling higher blends of ethanol through the summer months currently requires a waiver by EPA.
Corn growers have urged Congress to pass legislation that would allow for higher levels of ethanol blends year-round. NCGA is also pushing to advance the Next Generation Fuels Act, which would lower fuel prices, reduce carbon emissions and help shore-up America’s energy security.