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Energy Tomorrow Blog

On Cellulosic Ethanol, Hope Still Outpacing Reality

cellulosic ethanol  consumers  renewable fuel standard  epa 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted December 11, 2018

As debates continue over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its ethanol mandates, let’s remember that when the RFS was enacted more than a decade ago it was supposed to jumpstart a commercially viable cellulosic ethanol industry – ethanol made from the leaves, stems and other fibrous parts of a plant.

This has not happened. Far from it. Despite increased mandates under the RFS for cellulosic ethanol, those mandates have dwarfed actual production. The result is a costly proposition for American consumers and an object lesson on what can happen when government tries to use policy to favor a certain technology. Let’s explore the issue.


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Straight Talk on Electric Vehicles

electric vehicles  consumers  subsidies  tax credit  emissions 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted November 30, 2018

With the Edison Electric Institute celebrating 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads with a forum event in Washington, D.C., let’s talk, again, about some EV realities – which is important as the buzz around EVs grows. Let’s discuss subsidies, real consumer costs, emissions and batteries.


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Explaining Natural Gas Price Fluctuations

consumers  natural gas  energy costs  prices 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted November 21, 2018

Recent headlines on natural gas prices may leave Americans feeling whipsawed by marketplace fluctuations (see here and here). So, let’s look at what’s been going on with natural gas this year. But first, four points to keep in mind:

Affordable natural gas has saved the average household more than $100 per year in recent years; (2) most consumers are typically insulated from wholesale price variations – the focus of recent news coverage; (3) price increases this month to date are mainly the result of lower inventories coupled with cold weather forecasts that, of course, can change suddenly; and (4) recent price movements in natural gas futures are well within the ranges seen during the resurgence in U.S. energy production

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‘Powering America Past Impossible’ Primer Launches

power-past-impossible  oil and natural gas  economic growth  emission reductions  consumers 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted November 20, 2018

Follow this link to “Powering Past Impossible,” API’s primer on important natural gas and oil industry issues – spanning global economics and energy, natural gas and oil markets and key factors to sustaining and growing the U.S. energy revolution. Eight important takeaways from the primer follow.

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Correlation Grows Between Financial Markets, Oil Prices

crude markets  crude oil prices  consumers  investments  finance 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted November 15, 2018

Earlier this year we pointed out that a roller coaster of emerging economic factors could affect oil markets and, ultimately, consumers – and we were correct.

Rising interest rates, trade and tariff disputes, near decade-high U.S. dollar appreciation and potential financial market uncertainties have become pronounced over the past few months, affecting global crude oil markets and producing the strongest correlation between financial markets and oil prices in years

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New Marine Fuel Regulations and Potential Consumer Impact

fuel  regulation  consumers 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted October 30, 2018

There has been a recent flurry of news about whether the Trump administration will succeed in easing the rollout of new international rules to power commercial ships with environmentally cleaner fuels. 

The main fear is the change of rules could drive up demand and prices for low-sulfur fuels like diesel fuel – and ultimately the costs to consumers and businesses for their motor fuels, transportation, and everything that depends on them.


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Trade Policy Impacts on U.S. Energy Becoming Visible

crude oil exports  production  trade  monthly-stats-report 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted September 20, 2018

In API’s latest Industry Outlook and Monthly Statistical Report, we have shifted from recognizing risks on the horizon to having a line of sight on some of them.  The effects of trade disputes in particular have become tangible.

Most notably, at the same time as the U.S. celebrated another new record for crude oil production of 10.8 million barrels per day (mb/d), U.S. petroleum exports decreased by 1.3 mb/d over the past two months.  

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Natural Gas Market Growth and Keeping a Level Playing Field

natural gas  electric-grid  coal  nuclear  consumers 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted August 23, 2018

Domestic natural gas abundance – safely developed with modern hydraulic fracturing and high-tech horizontal drilling – has benefitted consumers and the economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping make our air cleaner.

Sustaining and growing those benefits largely depends on market growth for natural gas – to add production that production must have new and/or growing markets to supply. Policy can affect the potential for that market growth. The U.S. Energy Department’s (DOE) continued push to bail out failing coal and nuclear plants is a prime example.


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Record Refinery Performance Lends Confidence for Hurricane Season

hurricane preparedness  refinery capacity  consumers  fuel supply 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted August 16, 2018

As we head into what historically is the heart of the annual hurricane season, America’s refiners have never been in a stronger position to deliver the fuels we all need – which is good news for consumers.

According to API’s Monthly Statistical Report (MSR), the refining industry in June eclipsed 18 million barrels per day (b/d) of liquid fuels processed in distillation units and has remained on track for its strongest year on record.

Indeed, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that refinery runs will average 16.9 million b/d this year and 17 million b/d in 2019 – both of which would be records, surpassing the 2017 annual average of 16.6 million b/d.

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Tariffs and Signals From the Economy

trade  energy exports  economic growth 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted August 7, 2018

Recently, we discussed how natural gas and oil production and energy exports were major contributors to robust second-quarter growth by the U.S. economy – by themselves generating nearly half of the increase in U.S. real exports in Q2.

Yet, there’s concern that escalating U.S. trade restrictions and looming disputes could threaten global trade and economic growth. We’ve talked about tariffs and quotas directly impacting the natural gas and oil industry – China last week announced a 25 percent tariff on U.S. liquefied natural gas – but the potential effect is broader than just our industry, as indicated in last week’s post on possible food price impacts

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