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Energy Tomorrow Blog

GAO Report – Another Reason to Sunset the RFS

ethanol  renewable fuel standard  consumers  gasoline prices  emission reductions 

Jessica  Lutz

Jessica Lutz
Posted June 11, 2019

We’ve warned before (see here, here and here) that the broken Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use put consumers at risk. And that the administration’s recent decision to allow summer sales of E15 fuel – a blend containing 50 percent more ethanol than the E10 gasoline that’s widespread across the country – is an ineffective approach to addressing concerns with the RFS that will only serve to make things worse. Now, we can add another report to the long list of evidence that the RFS needs to be sunset – this time coming from the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO recently reviewed the effects of the RFS and found that requiring the use of corn-based ethanol and biodiesel in gasoline supplies hasn’t lowered pump prices or significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions – two of the main goals of the flawed RFS program. In fact, the review finds that gas prices outside of the corn-rich Midwest likely increased because of the program. To make matters worse, the review also found that there has been little, if any, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – a main selling point used by proponents to justify the program. 

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API, RFA Team Up on New and Updated Gasoline-Ethanol Standards

gasoline  ethanol  safety standards  renewable fuels association 

Debra Phillips

Debra Phillips
Posted May 16, 2019

Updated and new API standards that address the ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply – developed in partnership with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) – will enhance the natural gas and oil industry’s ability to safely trade and/or ship its products.

Certainly, our industry has disagreed with RFA over policies and specific provisions related to the Renewable Fuel Standard’s mandates for increasing ethanol use in the nation’s gasoline. Even so, we agree on the need for technical standards to help ensure the safe transfer of products and work together to develop them.

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Summer Driving and Gasoline Prices

consumers  gasoline prices  fuels  gasoline taxes 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted May 1, 2019

With summer driving season almost here, nationwide average gasoline prices were $2.88 per gallon as of April 30, according to the American Automobile Association, identical to what they were one year ago when adjusted for price inflation. This good news for consumers is due, at least in part, to record-breaking domestic oil production, which has put downward pressure on global prices for crude oil, the main factor in determining prices as the fuel pump.

While the current price may be the same when you pull up to pump, some notable things have changed behind the scenes.


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New Ad: E15 Push Puts Consumers at Risk

consumers  e15  renewable fuel standard  ethanol  gasoline  refiners 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 7, 2018

With the Trump administration considering a move that would push more E15 fuel into the nation's gasoline supply, API has a new ad warning that consumers could bear the risks of additional volumes of the higher-ethanol blend.

The ad touches on points we’ve made for years about the infusion of E15 (see here, here and here), spurred by the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The administration is thinking about facilitating the sale of E15 year-round. Currently, the Clean Air Act requires that E15 meet gasoline volatility requirements in the summertime. Key points in the ad: E15 can damage the engines and fuel systems of vehicles that weren’t designed to use it; nearly three out of four vehicles on the road today weren’t made to use E15; and automobile manufacturers have said using E15 could void car warranties.

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More on Variations in State Gasoline Prices

gasoline prices  taxes  regulation  consumers 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted July 6, 2018

Earlier this week we looked at the summer variation in gasoline prices, due mainly to increased driving as well as fuel specifications that have added to the cost of gasoline. As the 2018 summer driving season approaches its midpoint, let’s check the data on gasoline prices and, separately, take a deeper look at why prices in any one state have tended to be higher (or lower) than the national average.

According to the American Automobile Association, the nationwide average price for regular gasoline was $2.85 per gallon on June 28, a decrease of 12 cents per gallon since May 28. 

Remember, gasoline and diesel fuel prices tend to track the price of crude oil, because crude oil currently makes up more than half of the cost to make the fuels. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that crude oil made up 56 percent of the price of gasoline in May, the agency’s most recent analysis.


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Getting the Most From Your Fuels

gasoline  consumers  fuel economy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 5, 2018

Every summer Americans take to the highways. It’s a big country with lots to see, and reliable fuels are fundamental to the uniquely American freedom to range far and wide. In 2017, Americans traveled nearly 8 trillion miles from April to August. As we load our cars with sports gear, picnic baskets and beach chairs, some tips from API downstream experts to help those fuels take you as far as possible – safely, all summer long.

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Taxes and Regulations Impact Pump Prices

gasoline prices  regulation  taxes  refineries 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 2, 2018

In previous posts (see here and here), we’ve discussed factors that have affected gasoline prices in the past. The cost of crude oil is chief among them, accounting for more than 50 percent of the fuel price. Some other factors are seasonal, and taxes imposed on each gallon of gasoline vary from state to state.  


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Why the U.S. Must Import and Export Oil

crude oil exports  refineries  gasoline prices  energy policy 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted June 14, 2018

With Wall Street Journal headlines such as “Trans-Atlantic Oil-Price Spread Soars as Supply Glut Disappears,” it might be hard to remember that the United States’ domestic oil production stood at a record 10.5 million barrels per day (mb/d) in April, and the nation’s petroleum trade balance is in its best position in 50 years. This has reinforced U.S. energy security, lowered the trade deficit and boosted economic growth.

That said, given our country’s much improved energy outlook, some may question why we’re still importing crude oil and refined products. And, while we’re still importing oil, why do we export domestic crude – especially when prices have risen at the pump?  Why don’t we just keep American oil at home? ... 

Answers are found in an understanding of basic market realities.

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The economic—and environmental—case for natural gas

gasoline prices  crude oil  gasoline blends  gasoline taxes  consumers 

Jessica  Lutz

Jessica Lutz
Posted May 31, 2018

In a recently released report, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development digs into the factors that have made the U.S. energy dominance possible, and – specifically – the role of natural gas in energy dominance. 

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Gasoline Prices and Perspective

gasoline prices  crude oil  gasoline blends  gasoline taxes  consumers 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 24, 2018

Let’s add some needed perspective in the ongoing discussion of U.S. gasoline prices – even as Washington politicians try to exploit them for their own agendas. The latest political play: Senate Democrats want the president to cajole other nations into producing more oil to increase supply in hopes of moderating things at the pump.

Certainly, increasing global crude supply is important, because in the past doing so has put downward pressure on the cost of crude, the No. 1 factor driving gasoline prices.

But, since we’ve seen how much lower and less volatile prices have been the past four years, thanks to the growth of U.S. oil production, wouldn’t it be smarter to encourage greater oil production here at home? Senate Energy Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski

thinks so.

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