Growth Energy Highlights Environmental Advantages of Ethanol in California

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Growth Energy submitted comments to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) following an October 14-15 workshop on the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). In his written submission, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley urged CARB to expand the use of higher biofuel blends “to bring better and more affordable choices at the fuel pump to consumers, improve air quality, and protect the environment for future generations.”

“[L]iquid fuels will continue to play an important role in the transportation sector, even as alternative technologies flourish, wrote Bliley. “As such, it is imperative to look at ways to improve the availability and affordability of more environmentally sustainable fuel options that can be used in current vehicles and future vehicles.”

Bliley also emphasized the proven track record of biofuels in reducing California’s carbon emissions and improving air quality.

“Already, we’ve seen biofuels provide the foundation for the LCFS. In fact, biofuels like ethanol have generated more than 75 percent of LCFS credits. Additionally, even with room to further improve GHG lifecycle modeling, CARB recognizes the significant improvement in ethanol’s carbon intensity. In 2011, CARB reported the average carbon intensity (CI) for ethanol at 88 g/MJ. Through the first half of 2019, the average recorded CI for ethanol has decreased to 63 g/MJ, a 29 percent reduction in CI,” noted Bliley.

“Ethanol’s other environmental benefits are also noteworthy. As has been researched by the University of California, Riverside and the University of Illinois at Chicago, the use of more ethanol and ethanol-blended fuel reduces air toxics such as carbon monoxide, benzene, and other harmful particulates.3 To fully realize these and other important air quality benefits, there needs to be a clear policy with a firm future for the role and growth of cleaner-burning, affordable ethanol fuels,” added Bliley.

To maximize the benefits of low-carbon biofuels, Bliley urged CARB to press ahead on its evaluation of E15, promote E85, update internal modeling, incentivize sustainable farm practices, embrace novel technologies, support carbon capture, and consider ways to advance direct ethanol fuel cells.

Read Growth Energy’s full comments to CARB here.