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Energy Tomorrow Blog

The Reality of America’s Oil and Natural Gas Surge

ethanol  blend wall  renewable fuel standard  american energy  hydraulic fracturing  lng exports 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted October 11, 2013

Analysis: Lawsuits Likely as EPA Declares U.S. Ethanol Blend Wall a ‘Reality’

Reuters: With two words, the U.S. environment regulator may be handing oil refiners the biggest win of a long battle to beat back the seemingly inexorable rise of ethanol fuel.

In a leaked proposal that would significantly scale back biofuel blending requirements next year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the blend wall - the 10 percent threshold of ethanol-mixed gasoline that is at the crux of the lobbying war - is an "important reality".

The agency's rationale for a cut in the volume of ethanol that must be blended echoes an argument the oil industry has been making for months: the U.S. fuel chain cannot absorb more ethanol.

Read more: http://reut.rs/1hIy6OU

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The Chorus of Concern on RFS Impacts

ethanol  cellulosic biofuels  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  e15  renewable energy  Environment  Energy Efficiency 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 9, 2013

A tactic used by ethanol backers trying to defend the relatively defenseless Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is attempting to frame the RFS debate as one between America’s oil and natural gas companies and renewable energy.

That’s faulty for a couple of important reasons. First, we’re Big Ethanol’s biggest customers, buying billions of gallons a year, as a useful additive in E10 gasoline. Second, our companies are for renewables, not against them, investing $81 billion in renewables and carbon-reduction efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2012 – nearly as much as all other U.S. industries ($91 billion) and more than the federal government ($80 billion).

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E15 and Check Engine Light Malfunctions (Take 2)

ethanol blends  epa  e15  engine safety  renewable fuel standard 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted October 7, 2013

It lurks on every car or truck dashboard, the little indicator light that indicates potentially big problems with your vehicle’s engine. If you’re like me, a glowing “check engine” light elicits a groan, a facepalm and maybe some choice words – if not instant fear that the engine might conk out right then and there. In any case a visit to the repair shop is in my future. There, my mechanic will try to figure out what the heck could be causing the “Malfunction Indicator Light” (MIL), to come on. It might be a problem, or it might be a false alarm, in which case you’re still out the time and inconvenience of a wasted trip to the mechanic. 

Things to keep in mind as we revisit the issue of E15 fuel and falsely illuminating MILs, because research indicates that fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol could cause check engine lights to falsely illuminate.

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An Open Letter to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

e15  ethanol  renewable fuel standard  regulation 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted October 3, 2013

Thanks for your recent invitation to your “Ride & Drive” event. We agree that teaching the public about cylinder leakage in engines using E15 is valuable. Unfortunately, your invitation was sent to the wrong recipient.

You say that the Coordinating Research Council (CRC), which has been the gold standard in terms of vehicle testing for the better part of a century, used an “arbitrary threshold” for cylinder leakage during E15 testing. You seem upset about the results on vehicle damage. Surely you meant to address the invitation to the auto manufacturers, who have stated their concerns that E15 will damage engines, void warranties and reduce fuel efficiency.

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Strong Public Concern About RFS Impacts

e15  ethanol  epa  renewable fuel standard 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 2, 2013

Results from a new public opinion poll strongly suggest that action by EPA and Congress is warranted on the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Key findings from the Harris Interactive survey of more than 1,000 registered voters:

  • 77 percent said they’re concerned that using fuels containing ethanol blends above a 10 percent level can cause severe damage to car engines and fuel system components. They’re concerned that most auto manufacturers do not warranty their vehicles if the car’s owner runs it on fuels with a 15 percent ethanol blend.
  • 69 percent are concerned that diverting more and more corn into making ethanol will result in higher food costs.
  • 66 percent say regulation by the federal government could drive up the cost of gasoline for consumers.

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The Promise of New Opportunity From American Energy

lng exports  renewable fuel standard  shale benefits  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 18, 2013

Editorial: U.S. Right to Approve Cove Point LNG Export License

Washington Post: SOME BUILDING projects may be shovel-ready. Others are shovel-desperate: they are reasonable proposals that make economic sense and boast private backers but are being slowed or blocked by interest groups leaning on the government.

One that belongs in the second category is a plan to convert a natural gas import plant, an expensive facility in Cove Point, Md., that’s sitting idle, into one that can handle exports to gas-hungry Japan and India. The Energy Department approved the plan last week, but in Baltimore on Tuesday, a coalition of environmentalists and citizens groups promised to prevent the project from getting the 60 or so additional signoffs it needs. They should find a better use for their time.

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The Renewable Fuel Standard's 'Reality Gap'

renewable fuel standard  ethanol blends  blend wall  cellulosic mandates  epa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 18, 2013

In a piece in Forbes, contributor Michael Lynch writes that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is “one of the worst-designed government policies since we had caverns full of surplus cheese.” Yeah, that’ll leave a mark.

Yet, Lynch's characterization is on target in the case of the broken, out-of-touch RFS – with its ever-rising mandates for ethanol use that are propelling us toward the refining “blend wall” and potential harm to consumers and the broader economy. Bob Greco, API’s group director of downstream and industry operations, detailed the “reality gap” reasons the RFS should be repealed in a conference call with reporters – reasons that also back industry’s request that EPA reduce the total renewable fuels volume requirement to a level below 10 percent of overall gasoline demand for 2014.


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On Fifth Anniversary, Keystone XL a Proxy for America's Energy Choices

keystone xl  renewable fuel standard 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 16, 2013

Debate Revs as Decision Stalls Over Oil Pipeline From Canada

NPR: Five years ago this week, a Canadian company proposed building a pipeline to send heavy crude oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries. Although the Obama administration's answer on the Keystone XL pipeline is not expected anytime soon, politicians in Washington and Canada are ramping up the pressure for the project, while environmentalists are pushing hard against it.

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Energy Today – August 26, 2013

hydraulic fracturing  renewable fuel standard  new york  Economy  Environment 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted August 26, 2013

New York's Choice is a natural One Times Union Commentary: Now that President Barack Obama and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have toured New York, it is worth considering the goals we should have for the 21st century, the role natural gas could play and what is broadly at stake. The world is watching New York. As the Earth's population grows from 7 billion to 10.5 billion, meeting future energy goals requires that the global energy supply expand from 15 terawatts to 75 terawatts. Because energy is prosperity, the expansion of supply must also be steady. Prosperity delayed, like justice delayed, has a high social cost. Read more: http://bit.ly/15cOxfG

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No Award for Bad Laws - RFS Edition

ethanol  renewable fuel standard  e15  e85  blend wall 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted August 19, 2013

If you didn't see last week's USA Today editorial calling for repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), it's certainly worth reading. The editorial's key points:

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