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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Family Budgets, Home Heating and the Environmental Benefit of Natural Gas

natural gas  heat  consumers  renewable energy 

John Siciliano

John D. Siciliano
Posted January 16, 2020

Natural gas can’t be beat when it comes to its superior performance in heating a home, especially when compared to heat pumps and other appliances that rely solely on electricity.

Natural gas-powered appliances are both more cost-effective and environmentally friendly for homeowners when compared to their all-electric counterparts, according to consumer studies and government reports.

So, why are some groups campaigning to ban homeowners from using natural gas in favor of these more expensive alternatives?

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U.S. Natural Gas – Securing Clean and Renewable Energy

natural gas  renewable energy  emission reductions 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted September 18, 2019

As the United States’ leading source for electricity generation, natural gas is indispensable to our power grid. And, as a cleaner-burning fuel, it is essential to climate progress, accounting for more than 60% of power-related carbon dioxide emission reductions since 2005, which are at their lowest levels in a generation.

Worldwide energy demand grew last year by 2.3% – the fastest this decade – and natural gas emerged as the fuel of choice, accounting for 45% of the rise in consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. These numbers demonstrate the ongoing importance of abundant American natural gas in meeting the growing global push for sustainable, affordable fuels. Given this, the U.S. natural gas and oil industry is laser-focused on balancing the realities of consumer demand with the risks of a changing climate.

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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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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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Administration Ignores Risk to Consumers, Pushes More E15 into Fuel Supply

renewable fuel standard  consumers  ethanol  vehicle 

Jessica  Lutz

Jessica Lutz
Posted June 3, 2019

The administration’s 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 a disappointing and ineffective approach to addressing concerns with the broken Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

EPA’s rulemaking that extends the RVP waiver, effectively lifting a ban on summertime E15 sales, only worsens risks for U.S. consumers – given repeated warnings that pushing more E15 into the fuel supply could harm the vast majority of vehicles on the road that aren’t designed to use it, as well as engines in motorcycles, boats and lawn equipment for which E15 is incompatible. All to help farmers struggling under the weight of the administration’s own harmful trade tariffs.

It may seem obvious, but apparently it needs stating: EPA should be most concerned about the interests of U.S. consumers as it forms policy, not cleaning up messes caused by the administration’s flawed trade policy.

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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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EPA Putting Consumers’ Vehicles at Risk

renewable fuel standard 

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted April 25, 2019

To be clear, the oil and natural gas industry is not opposed to ethanol. We are opposed to incentivizing the use of E15 through extending the waiver as the majority of vehicles and refueling infrastructure are not designed for it.  By pursuing this policy and pushing more E15 into the market, the EPA is putting consumers’ vehicles at risk for undue damage, potentially forcing them to pay for expensive car repair bills. In addition to being bad for consumers, this proposal goes beyond EPA’s statutory authority.  This proposal conflicts with the clear language of the Clean Air Act.  Furthermore it is inconsistent with nearly three decades of EPA statutory interpretation of its authority as well as congressional intent.  If this rule is finalized, API will challenge this rule in court.

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Study Finds Negative Impacts of EPA’s Proposed RIN Reform

rfs34  renewable fuel standard  biofuels  fuel 

Jessica  Lutz

Jessica Lutz
Posted February 27, 2019

EPA’s proposal to reform a key component of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would only worsen the already broken RFS, a new study finds. ­The analysis by Covington & Burling for API affirms that the administration’s proposal to reform the market for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the RFS misdiagnoses the problem with the RINs market and provides misguided and counterproductive changes.

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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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EPA Should Protect Consumers From Ethanol Mandate

ethanol  renewable fuel standard  consumers  epa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 19, 2018

EPA likely will need to take the lead in rescuing U.S. consumers from the potential negative impacts of the federal ethanol mandate, given the shrinking chance that Congress will pass significant reforms to the broken Renewal Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

That’s the view of the natural gas and oil industry, which continues to warn of the possible consumer risks posed by the RFS, which was launched before the shale energy revolution and has been largely made obsolete by surging domestic production.

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