Grassley introduces Next Generation Fuels Act

By Erin Voegele | July 27, 2022

Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on July 26 introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act, which aims to leverage higher-octane fuels to improve engine efficiency and performance.

The bill, S. 4621, was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. To date, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., have signed on to cosponsor the legislation. Similar legislation was introduced in both 2020 and 2021 by Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa. Axne’s bill currently has 26 cosponsors.

The legislation aims to establish high-octane (95 and 98 RON) certification test fuels containing 20-30 percent ethanol, while requiring automobile manufacturers to design and warrant their vehicles for the use of these fuels beginning with model year 2026. Today, the typical octane rating is 91 RON. It also requires sources of the added octane value to reduce carbon emissions by at least 40 percent compared to baseline gasoline, measured using the U.S. Department of Energy’s GREET model.

Other provisions included in the bill address regulatory impediments that have slowed the commercialization of high-octane, low-carbon fuels and the vehicles that consume them. For example, the bill includes provisions that would set a limit on aromatics in gasoline another, ensure that all ethanol blends receive the same Reid vapor pressure (RVP) treatment as E10, and require future vehicles and future retail stations are compatible with higher blends of ethanol.  

The Renewable Fuels Association is welcoming introduction of the bill. “We sincerely thank Sen. Grassley, along with Sens. Klobuchar, Ernst, and Duckworth, for introducing the Next Generation Fuels Act in the Senate,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “These lawmakers recognize that Americans will continue to rely on liquid fuels and internal combustion engines for decades to come, and their legislation would ensure consumers have access to more efficient, lower-carbon, lower-cost fuels for their vehicles. This summer’s geopolitical instability, record-high gas prices, and more frequent climate disasters all underscore the need for real and immediate energy solutions for American families. This bill provides those sensible solutions, and we look forward to working with clean fuel supporters in both chambers of Congress to turn this bold vision into a reality.”

Growth Energy is also applauding the introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act. “The Next Generation Fuels Act represents a clear roadmap for delivering cleaner, more affordable options at the pump for American drivers,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “With a natural octane of 113, ethanol is the only high-performance, renewable fuel ready to help decarbonize cars on the road today – and with the added benefit of offering consumers significant savings at the pump. We applaud Senators Grassley, Klobuchar, Ernst, and Duckworth for working to promote the use of high-octane, lower-carbon biofuel blends that hold enormous potential for rural America’s role in clean energy production and lowering prices at the pump. We urge swift passage of this legislation as it works to offer both climate solutions and gas price relief to the American people.”

A full-text copy of the bill is available on the Congress.gov website