UAI files petition challenging EPA emissions data

By Urban Air Initiative | March 16, 2015

The Urban Air Initiative filed a new petition against the U.S. EPA as the next step in what UAI officials describe as their ongoing effort to challenge EPA’s defective models and policies relating to ethanol. 

As in a previous legal challenge to EPA, UAI teamed with the Energy Future Coalition and the states of Kansas and Nebraska.

The petition charges that EPA’s Motor Fuel Emission Simulator (MOVES) model wrongly blames ethanol for creating harmful tailpipe emissions, based on poorly designed test fuels. The petition calls upon EPA to undertake a new emissions study using real world fuels with the simple addition of ethanol. 

This petition draws on tests conducted by UAI and auto industry engineers which show that ethanol reduces harmful gasoline emissions.  “The key fact obscured by the MOVES model is that blending ethanol into ordinary gasoline is good, not bad, for emissions,” said Dave VanderGriend, president of UAI.  “Ethanol does this by diluting the most harmful components of gasoline with its own clean octane.” 

States are required to use the new MOVES2014 model when developing their pollution control implementation plans.  “Unless EPA corrects this model, it will force the States to follow mistaken conclusions about ethanol’s contribution to air pollution when they decide how to comply with EPA’s air quality standards.  That is why the states of Kansas and Nebraska have joined with Urban Air and the Energy Future Coalition,” he said.

“UAI’s research proves ethanol improves air quality and public health by replacing a large portion of the toxic components currently added to gasoline to provide octane.  These harmful components, called aromatics, include chemical compounds such as benzene and toluene.  During combustion in a car engine, they form ultrafine particulates (UFPs), which are so small they can enter the human bloodstream.  UFPs have been associated with a host of health issues, from heart disease and stroke to low birth weight and developmental problems for children.  The Clean Air Act directed EPA to reduce aromatics, but a cleaner and cheaper option continues to be ignored.”

VanderGriend said UAI will continue to challenge EPA and its flawed methods to reduce emissions and improve air quality.