The ethanol industry says the Biden Administration needs to ramp up the importance it places on flex-fuel versus electric vehicles.
E15 and E85 cars and trucks that help boost the demand for homegrown corn are just as important as the electric vehicles, now supercharged by the just-enacted Inflation Reduction Act.
Renewable Fuels Association head Geoff Cooper; â€œWe think itâ€™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 that we see on EVs, currently.â€
But USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, asked about the flex-fuel vehicles, EV rivalry at a biofuels infrastructure funding announcement in Illinois, argued ethanol-fueled vehicles are still important.
Vilsack; â€œThe future of this industry, in terms of transportationâ€”cars and trucks, (is) still very, very valid. The reality is, thereâ€™s a demand and need for electric vehicles, theyâ€™re not necessarily mutually exclusiveâ€¦and if you look at the sustainable aviation fuel opportunity, youâ€™re going to see an expansion of this industry. So, I think we can accomplish both.â€
Though the Democrats’ IRA bill spends just 500 million on biofuels infrastructure versus many billions on EV tax credits.
But RFAâ€™s Cooper says many flex-fuel vehicles, some not even labeled as such, are already on the road. Cooper; â€œThere are a lot of drivers out there, across the country, that are driving flex fuel vehicles, and didnâ€™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.â€
The US flex-fuel vehicles fleet is the second largest in the world after Brazil, with more than 21 million U.S. E85 FFVs registered by 2018, but with E85 use limited by a lack of refueling infrastructure and failure by some automakers to label the vehicles.