North Dakota Farmers Union joined a coalition of ethanol, agriculture and public interest groups today in challenging the Trump Administration’s recent fuel efficiency rulemaking for vehicles. The rule fails to recognize the benefits of mid-level ethanol blends for achieving higher octane levels.

“During the rulemaking process, EPA asked for ways to increase gasoline octane levels. We told them that mid-level blends were an obvious, market-ready solution. They chose to ignore that advice and instead lowered the bar for fuel efficiency requirements,” said Mark Watne, president of North Dakota Farmers Union. “The decision is bad for the environment and bad for farmers who grow renewable energy, year after year.”

The rule in question, known as the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficiency Vehicle Rule (SAFER) establishes vehicle fuel efficiency requirements for manufacturers. The previous rule called for a 5% increase in fuel efficiency for light-duty vehicles, which EPA reduced to 1.5%. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to reduce toxic substances in gasoline to the greatest extent possible when new technologies become available.

Farmers Union provided documentation showing the ability of mid-level ethanol blends, such as E-30, to reduce toxics. The organization believes the rule ignores the efficiency and health benefits of higher ethanol blends, downplays the harm from reduced emission standards, and fails to realize the promise of increased octane in gasoline.

The legal challenge is being led by National Farmers Union and includes other Farmers Union state and regional organizations, including the Governors Biofuel Coalition, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Environment and Energy Study Institute, and Urban Air Initiative. The legal petition asking for a review of the rule was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.