EPA Tailpipe Standard Will Hurt Family Farms

Kansas corn experts believe new EPA tailpipe emissions standards will have negative implications for consumers, farmers and the rural economy.

Kansas Corn Growers Association leaders said the EPA is ignoring the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol, a carbon-smart fuel that is already a clean air solution in affordable vehicles desired by consumers. Instead, the agency is forcing a one-size-fits all approach by mandating electric vehicles as the only climate solution. The plan relies almost exclusively on the use of electric vehicles, requiring 67 percent of automakers’ production to be EVs by 2032.

According to the organization, by 2026, farmers shopping for a half-ton or three-quarter-ton truck for work will find half of the pickups on the showroom floor will be electric and not suitable for heavy duty farm use. Consumers will face similar challenges, with a dwindling number of affordable, practical vehicle choices. In a recent study, economists noted the plan would cause a loss in corn demand that could lead to a permanent 50% decrease in the price of corn and a profound decline in farmland value, decimating the rural economy.

KCGA CEO Josh Roe said the Environmental Protection Agency’s final 2027-2032 emissions standards for sedans and light- and medium-duty trucks are bad for agriculture, consumers, the economy and rural communities.

“While most members of our Kansas congressional delegation oppose this rule, they need to go beyond the rhetoric and work to find a solution. They can do this by simply supporting and passing the Next Generation Fuels Act, the only existing legislation that addresses this issue and ensures the role of the internal combustion engine in our energy future,” Roe said. “Instead of mandating a technology, a high octane, low carbon fuel standard removes the barriers the automakers have to producing internal combustion engines that are vital to the rural way of life.”

Corn growers have been on the forefront of the campaign to lower emissions. The Kansas and National Corn Growers associations continue to urge Congress to pass the Next Generation Fuels Act, which would set a new, cleaner standard for fuel that capitalizes on American-grown biofuels. KCGA and NCGA have also been successful in investing in and promoting the availability of higher ethanol blends at stations across the country.

“Ethanol is not a new climate solution—it’s one that has been successfully improving our air quality for decades, and it works in vehicles on the road today and new vehicles that consumers want to drive,” Roe said. “We should embrace all technologies to meet our climate goals, including EVs when they are practical, but we should not penalize vehicles and technologies that use proven, climate-smart biofuel blends.”

In testimony last year before a House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Roe said viable climate solutions were being pushed aside in EPA’s proposed regulations. He warned low- and middle-income citizens will pay the price for electric vehicles that are more expensive and not feasible for use in many areas.

“While we believe electric vehicles (EVs) will play a vital role in achieving these goals, other complementary alternatives, such as biofuels, have a key role to play but are being pushed aside,” Roe told the subcommittee. “These fuels offer a solution to air quality problems, combat inflation, but do not require a publicly funded overhaul of our transportation infrastructure or require consumers to purchase vehicles that may not be affordable or compatible with their way of life.”