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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Expected RFS Tweaks Likely Will Make Flawed Program Worse

renewable fuel standard  ethanol  consumers  refineries  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 3, 2019

The story of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is long and unfortunate – a program that is now  largely obsolete thanks to surging domestic energy, whose mandates continue to loom over American consumers without many of the benefits it was supposed to provide. It lives on, protected by ethanol producers and corn state/presidential politics.

That’s the context for RFS policy tweaks expected soon from the White House – more fiddling with a flawed program that will attempt to force higher content of ethanol-blended fuel into the U.S. supply, potentially impacting consumers, while creating an uneven playing field in the refining sector.

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EPA Should Protect Consumers from the Broken Ethanol Mandate

e10 blend wall  epa  rfs34  ethanol 

Jessica  Lutz

Jessica Lutz
Posted July 18, 2018

In the decade since the inception of the RFS, EPA has consistently implemented the mandate in a manner that dictates more and more ethanol into a fuels market regardless of whether market conditions can bear such an increase.  The ever-increasing volumes of ethanol in the fuel supply – more than can be used in E10 gasoline - inefficiently pushes fuels such as E15 into the marketplace. This puts consumers at risk because three out of four vehicles in the U.S. fleet were not built to use E15, including some model year 2018 cars and trucks from BMW, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Volvo, among others. A number of automakers have said that using E15 could potentially void car warranties. Moreover, E15 is not compatible with motorcycles, boats, lawn equipment and ATVs. 

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U.S. Energy Renaissance, RFS and Needed Reform

renewable fuel standard  consumers  ethanol  blend wall  e15  e85 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 1, 2017

With EPA receiving public input this week on its proposed ethanol-use volumes for 2018, it’s important to see that America’s energy renaissance in natural gas and oil production is the biggest reason for the progress the U.S. has made toward those RFS objectives. 

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Poll: Potential RFS Impacts Concern U.S. Voters

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  e15  ethanol  blend wall 

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted April 7, 2017

A new national API poll shows that American voters have serious concerns about the Renewable Fuel Standard and its mandates for ever-increasing levels of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Key findings from the survey of 1,000 registered voters include 74 percent agreeing that federal regulations could contribute to increased costs for gasoline to consumers and 68 percent who're concerned about government regulations that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline.

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The RFS Reform Opportunity

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  ethanol  blend wall 

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted November 18, 2016

As congressional leaders set priorities for the end-of-year session, lawmakers should consider action on the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). There’s bipartisan consensus for addressing the RFS – either repealing it outright or making major reforms. This week, Frank Macchiarola, API downstream group director, conducted a conference call with reporters on the problems with the RFS and the need for congressional action.

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Consumer Interests Paramount in Pending Fuels Policy

consumers  renewable fuel standard  ethanol  e15  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 18, 2016

The Renewable Fuel Standard, created a decade ago to strengthen U.S. energy security and benefit American consumers, is doing neither. The RFS is broken and should be repealed or significantly reformed – with the interests of consumers the top priority. That’s the message API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola delivered during a conversation with a group of energy reporters this week.

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Listen to Voters on the RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  ethanol  epa  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 27, 2016

Two more results from the new Harris Poll on what Americans are thinking about key energy issues.

First, 77 percent of registered voters say they’re concerned about government requirements that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline. Second, 73 percent agree that federal government regulations could contribute to increased costs for gasoline to consumers.

Both results basically point fingers at the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – which indeed is Washington pushing for more ethanol in gasoline, which experts and studies warn could impact consumers at the gasoline pump and at the repair shop.

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RFS Proposal Doesn’t Protect Consumers Enough

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  epa  ethanol  e15  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 18, 2016

One unsettling aspect of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is that for some time it has appeared – from public statements anyway – that EPA considers the program an ongoing experiment, testing the ability of government policy to change or modify the behavior of free markets and the fueling choices of individual consumers, with consumers as the guinea pigs.

The results were logged in long ago: Flaws in the RFS and EPA’s management of the program mark it for repeal or significant reform. RFS mandates for increasing ethanol use in the nation’s fuel supply threaten breaching the ethanol “blend wall,” risking impacts to the broader economy and consumers’ wallets.

Just as unfortunate is EPA’s apparent lack of concern for U.S. consumers –reflected in the agency’s proposals for 2017 volume levels, which will test the blend wall, the point where required use of ethanol in the fuel supply exceeds the safe level of 10 percent.


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Poll: Americans Sound Off on RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 6, 2016

We can sum up new polling on Americans’ perceptions of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its potential impact on their lives in a word: concerned.

Make that very concerned – about potential damage to their vehicles, about the broad economic effects of breaching the ethanol “blend wall” and about diverting corn away from the global food supply to manufacture ethanol.

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Hitting the Wall on the RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  blend wall  ethanol  epa  e15  e85 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 25, 2016

To understand why the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) must be repealed or significantly reformed, start at the “blend wall.”

The ethanol blend wall is where – because of the RFS’ mandates – more ethanol must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply than can be absorbed as E10 gasoline – gasoline containing up to 10 percent ethanol, which is standard across the country. Put another way, when ethanol makes up more than 10 percent of the total U.S. fuel mix, you’ve breached the blend wall.

At that point refiners have few options. They can produce E15 and E85, fuels containing higher volumes of ethanol, or they can comply with the RFS by reducing the amount of fuel supplied to the domestic market. Neither is a good choice for American consumers.

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