Biden’s electric vehicle ambitions leave ethanol sector on edge

Source: Politico | May 4, 2021 | Ryan McCrimmon and Kelsey Tamborrino

The president is under pressure to include ethanol and other biofuels in his climate and infrastructure plans, which are tilted toward supporting electric vehicles and charging stations.

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan outlines his vision for a low-emissions future based on massive investments in electric cars. The biofuels industry wants Biden to bankroll them, too.

Corn growers and producers of ethanol — the corn-based renewable fuel that has long enjoyed special status as a government-mandated ingredient in gasoline — would get only a tiny slice of the funds proposed in the infrastructure package, despite Biden’s assurances that he views them as key to reducing dependence on fossil fuels. So now they’re turning to their traditional allies in Congress to get themselves written in.

“To not see [biofuels] listed as part of an infrastructure piece, I’m hoping is just an oversight and a misunderstanding — because I know that there’s support for it,” said Rep. Cindy Axne, the only Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation. As co-chair of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, she introduced legislation, H.R. 1542 (117), in March to expand access to higher blends.

The pushback illustrates the political challenge facing Biden as vehicle technology changes and environmental concerns mount. The biofuels industry is influential among both Democratic and Republican lawmakers from farm states.


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