A computer model used by states to assess mobile source emissions is seriously flawed, according to an analysis by Urban Air Initiative (UAI). The model’s inaccurate results could block access to the market for higher ethanol blends, denying states what could be a valuable tool in protecting public health. The Urban Air Initiative and the Energy Future Coalition (EFC) are seeking an immediate suspension of the model, and request a peer review.
The Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) is used by states to demonstrate to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that motor fuels they use will not violate air quality standards. The Clean Air Act requires states use these models in formulating their air pollution control strategies and failure to do so could result in sanctions and penalties.
However, the groups contend that the new MOVES model inaccurately portrays the impact of ethanol on toxic emissions. Under EPA methodology, increasing the percentage of ethanol in gasoline is shown to increase particulate emissions, when in fact aromatics and other high boiling hydrocarbon compounds added to fuels are to blame. Higher ethanol blends actually provide a significant reduction in toxic emissions.
After the recent publishing of the MOVES model in the Federal Register, the Energy Future Coalition (EFC) and Urban Air Initiative sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy citing specifics as to why the model is flawed and requesting an immediate suspension of its use.
The letter also notes that these problems in EPA methodology are recognized by fuel experts in the auto industry, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and numerous others independent of the ethanol industry.
“The conclusions of both the EPAct study and the MOVES 2014 model about the air quality impacts of ethanol are clearly and demonstrably false, and they should be withdrawn as a matter of scientific integrity,” wrote the two groups. “Fuels experts at Department of Energy’s national laboratories should be engaged in further peer review and guidance should be provided to the states to refrain from using the MOVES model for assessing the air quality impacts of ethanol blends.”
SOURCE Urban Air Initiative