July 28, 2022

Duckworth Joins Grassley to Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Americans Save Money at the Pump, Improve Vehicle Efficiency


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in introducing the bipartisan and bicameral Next Generation Fuels Act to leverage higher-octane fuels to help improve engine efficiency and performance. Allowing the sale of fuels with greater octane levels would increase the amount of ethanol that can be utilized in the fuel supply, in turn lowering prices at the pump for consumers.

“Right now, Big Oil is using Putin’s war of choice as an excuse to drive up prices and rake in huge profits off the backs of hardworking Americans,” said Duckworth. “It’s past time we offer better options at the pump to help lower costs, decrease carbon emissions and reduce reliance on foreign oil, and I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan bill that would do just that.”

“Unstable gas prices have left many families – especially rural families – with a lot of budget uncertainty. The Next Generation Fuels Act would gradually ramp up the use of homegrown ethanol at gas stations across the country, making Americans less reliant on foreign oil and less vulnerable to the anti-competitive tactics of OPEC. As we look to the future of liquid fuels, this legislation can play a critical role in restoring energy independence, saving consumers money, lowering carbon emissions and expanding the market for farmers and ethanol producers,” said Grassley.

Along with Duckworth and Grassley, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are original co-sponsors of this bill. Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL).

Due to ethanol’s high-octane rating, greater ethanol blends result in both additional fuel efficiency and significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction. Ethanol is also priced lower than gasoline, making it the most cost-effective octane source. The Next Generation Fuels Act establishes a minimum research octane number (RON) standard of 98 for gasoline, which is higher than the typical octane rating of 91 RON today. It also requires sources of the added octane value to reduce carbon emissions by at least 40 percent compared to baseline gasoline.

By requiring the new high-octane fuel to utilize low-carbon sources, the Next Generation Fuels Act will decarbonize liquid fuels as vehicle technologies advance. This requirement, coupled with a new limit on harmful aromatics content, ensures that progress already made to expand the use of ethanol while lowering emissions continues. The bill would also improve vehicle efficiency and performance by ensuring improved standards for internal vehicle parts to withstand higher blends of ethanol.

Full text of the bill is available here.

Duckworth has been a leading advocate for policies that would lower the cost of gas and support working families. She introduced her Gas Price Gouging Prevention Act in March to help prevent the oil industry from engaging in gasoline price gouging during periods of crisis, helping protect Americans from unnecessary price increases. She also helped introduce the Home Front Energy Independence Act, which would make E15 available year round, establish an E15 and Biodiesel Tax Credit, direct EPA to finalize their E15 labeling rule and provide for biofuel infrastructure and compatibility with retailers. Duckworth applauded the Biden Administration’s announcement that it will publish the ethanol blending mandates for 2020, 2021 and 2022 at levels that more closely resemble American consumption levels and help farmers and biofuel producers prepare for the future.