U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) has introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act, legislation that leverages greater fuel octane to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, improve air quality by reducing the use of harmful aromatics and increase demand for biofuels.
Fuels with greater levels of octane are more stable and have the potential to make engines more fuel-efficient. This legislation establishes a minimum octane standard for gasoline and requires sources of the added octane value to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30% compared to baseline gasoline. Furthermore, the legislation limits the use of harmful aromatics in meeting this new higher octane standard, as well as in current-market gasoline.
“For the last three and a half years, we have been forced to fight battle after battle and face this administration’s broken promise after broken promise to ensure our country is meeting the full potential of biofuels,” says Bustos. “The Next Generation Fuels Act looks toward the future to make sure we bring an environmental lens to biofuels production, in order to increase demand while reducing carbon emissions.”
Due to ethanol’s high octane rating, low-carbon, high-octane ethanol blends result in both additional fuel efficiency and significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefits. Ethanol is also priced lower than gasoline, making it the most cost-effective octane source.
By requiring the new high octane fuel to utilize low-carbon sources, the Next Generation Fuels Act will decarbonize liquid fuels as vehicle technologies advance. This requirement, coupled with a new limit on harmful aromatics content, ensures that progress already made to lower emissions continues.
Using more petroleum-based sources to increase fuel octane would produce more carbon emissions, erase GHG reduction benefits from improved fuel economy and result in more emissions of harmful hydrocarbon aromatics, which degrade air quality and respiratory health.