The Standoff for E30

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy may be just a block or two apart on Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C., but they are miles apart on their long-term outlook for ethanol. Seemingly disparate objectives make E30s future less clear.

The good: The USDA set a goal of a market-driven E30 blend rate by 2050 in its Agriculture Innovation Agenda released in February.

The bad: Under U.S. EPA rules, only flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) can use blends of E20, E30 or E85. And the final rule updating the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards—the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule published at the end of March—failed to extend incentives for automakers to build FFVs.