March 17, 2017
Most scientists who have studied the impact of adding ethanol to gasoline on tailpipe emissions are well aware that the biofuel reduces emissions, provides a clean octane boost and often costs less at the pump than other octane boosters.
But the EPA's model that determines motor vehicle emissions doesn't accurately reflect ethanol's true benefits. That's why Urban Air Initiative has used legal and regulatory strategies to have the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator Model re-evaluated.
In early March, UAI scored a victory. Its technical expert was given a seat at the table of the group working to review the MOVES model. A primary concern of the ethanol industry in regard to the MOVES model is that it does not work with the fuel that is sold to consumers, but rather with a fuel formulated by the petroleum industry for testing.
After filing a formal request, UAI Technical Director Steve Vander Griend was added to the MOVES Review Work Group. This work group was established by the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, which provides recommendations to the EPA.
Vander Griend traveled to Michigan in early March for his first meeting. He's the only member with experience in how ethanol impacts emissions. The MOVES Review Work Group consists of people who have expertise in emissions modeling.
"I asked a lot of questions and offered ideas that hadn't been discussed. Next UAI will present suggestions for ways to improve the data being used to assess ethanol in the MOVES model," Vander Griend says.
UAI has led the charge to correct the MOVES model, and the Governors' Biofuel Coalition recently added its name to the growing list of stakeholders calling for correction. In a letter to President Donald Trump this week, the GBC included MOVES as one of the key issues EPA needs to address to open the market for higher ethanol blends.
The inclusion of an ethanol advocate at the table on MOVES discussion is a big step forward in helping the ethanol industry make its case, says Vander Griend.
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