Energy Tomorrow Blog
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
Posted September 24, 2013
Progress, Not Perfection, in Tackling Global energy Challenges: WEC Report
Breaking Energy: The US, which ranks at number 15 on the 2013 Energy Sustainability Index, is facing serious challenges to improving its place on the index, and more importantly, its energy sector investment outlook, because of policy uncertainty. The recent moves by the Obama Administration to regulate carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants are, despite the President’s good intentions, “the worst kind of thing that can happen” in energy policy design, Mark Robson said. “The value of … doing nothing has gone up.”
“It’s not enough for the policy to be good, it needs to be implemented well,” MacNaughton said, echoing Robson’s point. Companies can now expect a period of lobbying and litigation over the EPA carbon rule adjustment proposal that delays investment and corporate decision making still further in a country with a rapidly aging power sector, MacNaughton said.
Read more: http://bit.ly/18nRBZQ
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.
Posted September 11, 2013
Obama Administration Allows More natural Gas Exports
Fuel Fix Blog: The Obama administration on Wednesday authorized a fourth company to broadly export U.S. natural gas, giving Dominion conditional approval to sell the fossil fuel abroad after processing it at a Maryland facility.
The Energy Department’s decision means that as long as it secures other required permits, Dominion Cove Point will be able to sell as much as 770 million cubic feet of natural gas per day for the next 20 years to Japan and other countries that do not have free-trade agreements with the United States.
With the Dominion Cove Point decision, the Obama administration has now authorized 6.37 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas to be sold to non-free-trade nations.
Read more: http://bit.ly/17QBo0W
Posted September 10, 2013
Posted August 21, 2013
USA Today: What New Energy Landscape Means to USA
When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto unveiled a plan recently to allow private investment in his nation's energy production, it received relatively little notice. But it is a very big deal. Mexican oil has been the province of a government controlled-monopoly since the industry was nationalized in 1938.
Adding private sector know-how could easily increase production by 25% or more in a decade as new drilling technologies are brought to bear. This would add to an equally positive and unanticipated development: the vast increase in oil and gas production in the USA and Canada.