RFA: Wish there was a better emphasis on flex-fuel vehicles

The ethanol industry is calling on the Biden Administration to ramp up the importance it places on flex-fuel vehicles versus all-electric.

Renewable Fuels Association says E15 and E85 vehicles that help boost the demand for homegrown corn are just as important as the electric vehicles, which are now supercharged by the just-enacted Inflation Reduction Act.

“We think it’s going to take both flex-fuel vehicles and electric vehicles to significantly reduce our petroleum consumption in this country and to help insulate the economy from the volatility that we see in the crude oil market. We do wish that there was a little more emphasis, or at least the same amount of emphasis, put on FFVs than we see on EVs currently,” said RFA President Geoff Cooper.

But USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says ethanol-fueled vehicles are still important.

“The future of this industry, in terms of transportation - cars and trucks - is still very, very valid. The reality is, that there’s a demand and need for electric vehicles, they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive, and if you look at the sustainable aviation fuel opportunity, you’re going to see an expansion of this industry. So, I think we can accomplish both,” Vilsack said.

Though the Inflation Reduction Act spends just $500 million on biofuel infrastructure versus many billions on EV tax credits. Cooper says many flex-fuel vehicles, some not even labeled as such, are already on the road.

“There are a lot of drivers out there, across the country, that are driving flex-fuel vehicles, and didn’t even know it until this summer, when they happened to be driving past a retail station and noticed that very low price for E85,” said Cooper.

The U.S. flex-fuel fleet is the second-largest in the world after Brazil and had more than 21 million E85 flex-fuel vehicles registered by 2018, but a lack of refueling infrastructure continues to slow down operations.


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