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But the agency’s own research shows that blends as high as E15 are appropriate for all cars made after 2001. What’s more, automakers continue to turn out flex-fuel vehicles that can run on blends ranging up to E85. In the United States alone, there are more than 15 million flex-fuel vehicles on the road today.
The EPA’s policy change is entirely ill-advised. The reform will not only set back an economically viable green initiative, it will leave American farmers in the lurch.
A record-high corn crop this season has already driven prices below the break-even point of about $4.25 a bushel. Proposals to reduce or eliminate ethanol use will lower prices even further, threatening family farms and destroying countless jobs in rural communities.
What’s more, corn farmers are already planning for next year’s crop. Without the assurance that the Obama administration will enforce the renewable-fuel standard as promised, determining how much to plant will be more of a gamble than usual.
The goal of the renewable-fuel standard was to accelerate the adoption of renewable fuels across America, and relaxing ethanol standards in 2014 will betray this cause, introduce unnecessary turmoil into our agricultural sector, and hand an unearned victory to the fossil fuels industry. Agency officials and congressional leaders should waste no time in rejecting these proposals.
Martin Barbre is an Illinois farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association.