WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) last week introduced H.R. 8371, “the Next Generation Fuels Act.” The purpose of the bill is to leverage greater fuel octane to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector, improve air quality by reducing the use of certain aromatics and increase demand for biofuels.
H.R. 8371 establishes a minimum octane standard for gasoline used in automobiles and requires sources of the added octane value to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30% compared to baseline gasoline. The bill would require model year 2024 and later light-duty vehicles to run on higher octane fuel and carry a warranty that covers the use of up to 30% ethanol. The legislation also limits the use of certain aromatics in meeting this new, higher octane standard, as well as in current-market gasoline.
High-octane fuels are those that can tolerate more compression before igniting. The bill does not waive any of the broader Renewable Fuel Standard requirements for blending ethanol and does not address the long-held liability concerns fuel marketers have with selling higher blends of ethanol.
This legislation is supported by many in the corn-growing and biofuels industry and some in the refining industry, as ethanol is one of the cheapest sources of octane available. Similar legislation (H.R. 4690) had been introduced last year by Representatives Bill Flores (R-TX) and John Shimkus (R-IL), which also would have required new cars and trucks to be designed to run on high-octane fuel.