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Energy Tomorrow Blog

The RFS: Reality 1, Rhetoric 0

Energy 101  gasoline  imports  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted June 28, 2013

There is a classic xkcd cartoon where a one of the characters says they can’t come to bed because “Someone is wrong on the internet.”  Though the options for who exactly that someone was are almost unlimited, statistically there is a good chance the character was referring to Bob Dinneen.  Witness this tweet:

Ehthanol Bog

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Energy Today – June 24, 2013

e15  Economy  gasoline  ethanol  hydraulic fracturing  Marcellus Shale  Security and Access  renewable fuel standard  revenue  Utica 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted June 24, 2013

AP - Boost For Cars or Bust? 

AP reports on the debate surrounding the Renewable Fuel Standard and E15 gasoline after a recent ruling by the Supreme Court. "The ever increasing ethanol mandate has become unsustainable, causing a looming crisis for gasoline consumers," API's Bob Greco said. "We're at the point where refiners are being pressured to put unsafe levels of ethanol in gasoline, which could damage vehicles, harm consumers and wreak havoc on our economy."

Houston ChronicleEnergy Surge Spreads Its Wealth Around City

Houston is arguably the center of American energy. With the surge in domestic energy, the city’s business sector – and revenues – has grown over the last few years. The Chronicle highlights the “vibrant metropolitan area.”

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Gasoline Prices and Real Help for Consumers

access  energy  gasoline  regulation  Energy 101  Jobs and Economy  gas prices  fuel prices  Onshore Oil Production  Onshore Gas Production 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 23, 2013

Gasoline prices have been rising with the approach of the summer driving season – up to about $3.66, according to AAA – pushed there by rising crude oil prices. U.S. consumers need help. And they could get it – if the administration pursued a number of energy policies to put downward pressure on global crude costs, while abandoning other choices that could harm consumers.

API Chief Economist John Felmy’s reporter briefing Thursday focused attention on two paths: one that will increase domestic production of oil and natural gas and one that won’t. Unfortunately, the administration – via proposals to increase energy taxes and a new wave of questionable regulation – looks headed down the wrong path, a recipe for disaster for American energy:

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The Ethanol-Gasoline Cost Gap

e85  ethanol  renewable fuel standard  gasoline costs 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted May 14, 2013

Ethanol advocates often assert that ethanol costs less per gallon than gasoline while trying to justify the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  While it’s true that on a gallon-to-gallon basis ethanol historically has been cheaper than gasoline, ethanol contains far less energy than gasoline and therefore has cost consumers more to travel the same distance, as I pointed out (here, here and here).  Look at the graphics below, produced by EPA and the Energy Department: The real costs to consumers, measured in fuel economy, has been significant.

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Energy Today – April 30, 2013

keystone xl pipeline  fracking  gasoline taxes  environmental impact 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted April 30, 2013

BloombergApprove Keystone Now

Bloomberg’s editorial board argues that rather than encouraging more study on the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama should “now prod the State Department to move as fast as possible” to approve the project.

AEI Carpe Diem BlogTexas Oil Output Continues

Mark J. Perry writes, “The exponential increase in Texas oil production over the last several years is nothing short of phenomenal, and is a direct result of … game-changing drilling technologies in America that have now revolutionized the nation’s production of shale oil.”

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Fact vs. Fiction on the Renewable Fuel Standard

ethanol  gasoline  renewable fuel standard 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted April 19, 2013

It’ll take more than 60 seconds to debunk the main untruths in Fuels America’s video, “The Truth Behind High Gasoline Prices in 60 Seconds” – but then fact often is more complicated than fiction.

First, a few words about Fuels America. It’s a collection of groups committed to “protecting” the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with its broken mandates for increasing use of ethanol. The organization that includes the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and major corn growers is attacking America’s oil and natural gas industry – ironically, ethanol’s biggest customer.

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More Voices in the RFS Debate

diesel  ethanol  gasoline  renewable fuel standard 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 26, 2013

The biofuels/ethanol debate has moved over to National Journal’s Energy Experts Blog, with this week’s posts addressing whether the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that mandates biofuel use should be left alone, amended or repealed. Some of what others are saying:


Bernard Weinstein – associate director of SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute:

“The biofuels mandate has done little or nothing to enhance America’s energy independence or security. Oil imports have dropped dramatically over the past five years, from 60 percent of consumption to around 35 percent; but the credit goes to the shale revolution that has greatly boosted domestic production. What’s more, the potential contribution of ethanol to the energy mix has been oversold. Processing the entire U.S. corn crop into ethanol would yield energy equal to just 12 percent of gasoline consumption. … But the most pressing reason for repealing the ethanol mandate is that refiners must blend a larger quantity every year. … Consequently, refiners are up against a “blend wall” as the mandate forces them to purchase more ethanol than they can safely put into gasoline.”

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Paying for Ethanol’s Infrastructure

renewable fuel standard  ethanol  gasoline 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted March 22, 2013

Paying for Ethanol's Infrastructure. Ethanol supporters have a blog post up suggesting that if the oil and natural gas industry simply invested in the “modern fuel distribution infrastructure needed to dispense greater than E10 blends,” industry’s issues with unworkable ethanol mandatesunder the Renewable Fuel Standard would vanish.

Maybe in some alternate universe – one that’s disconnected from economic reality, real costs and operating margins. Don’t take our word for it. Take a look at this letter to the Wall Street Journal from Dan Gilligan, president of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, the folks who own the gasoline stations, convenience stores, heating oil businesses, truck stops and other companies that invest in and market petroleum products. 

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The Science is Clear on E15

e15  ethanol in gasoline  renewable fuel standard 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted March 12, 2013

We expect attacks from ethanol boosters over E15 gasoline, fuel that contains 15 percent ethanol, because their stated mission is to promote more ethanol use.  But, unfortunately for them, the science is clear; E15 has been shown to cause damage in some engines and fuel systems.

Pointing this out, citing tests by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC), an organization that’s the gold standard in terms of automotive research, has drawn some fantastic claims, most recently that the E10 (10 percent ethanol) “blend wall” – the point at which there isn’t enough E10 being sold to accommodate all of the ethanol mandated by federal law – doesn’t actually exist, more on that below. 

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Crude Oil Demand, Gasoline Prices and Greater Energy Self-Sufficiency

supply  prices  gasoline  energy  demand  crude oil  access 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 22, 2013

Gasoline prices have been climbing. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports:

The average U.S. retail price for regular motor gasoline has risen 45 cents per gallon since the start of the year, reaching $3.75 per gallon on February 18. Between January 1 and February 19, the price of Brent crude, the waterborne light sweet crude grade that drives the wholesale price of gasoline sold in most U.S. regions, rose about $6 per barrel, or about 15 cents per gallon.

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