Energy Tomorrow Blog
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 September 10, 2013
Posted August 19, 2013
Posted August 12, 2013
Posted July 30, 2013
The Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) released a study last week highlighting the consequences of exceeding the blendwall:
“The current regulatory regime, if not reformed in some substantial manner, will likely spike gasoline prices in 2014, as federal mandates take the U.S. gasoline pool significantly above 10 percent ethanol by volume.”
The risk mentioned here isn’t coming as a surprise. We’ve described the potential consequences of the RFS and highlighted the real costs of the program here, here, and here. EPRINC’s study brings all of these problems into focus, underscoring the immediate consequences that could face consumers in 2014.
Posted July 26, 2013
Earlier we took a look at claims by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) that ethanol production was “a particularly important catalyst” and “major driver” of declines in finished motor gasoline imports (Spoiler Alert: No). Today, continuing the Sisyphean task of correcting false narratives put forth by the RFA, let’s look at the notion that ethanol is leading the way in providing energy security. RFA’s statement in a House hearing this week:
In fact, cumulative new ethanol production since 2005 has accounted for 62% of new domestically-produced liquid fuels, while cumulative new U.S. crude oil production has accounted for 38%.
Posted July 25, 2013
Over two days this week the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard concerns from scientists, poultry producers, automakers, drivers, restaurant owners, tool makers, store owners, environmentalists and the oil and natural gas industry about problems with E15 and/or the current Renewable Fuel Standard. Leading the charge the other way was the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) with a simple message: our product is so great; the government should continue to force people to buy it.
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:
Posted May 30, 2013
One of the frequent arguments from ethanol supporters is that the United States should simply follow the lead of Brazil and use a lot more ethanol in our fuel supply. Indeed, Vice President Joe Biden was full of praise for Brazil during remarks in Rio de Janeiro this week:
“You’re tapping your enormous natural resources, but also getting a greater share of your energy from clean and renewable energy sources than any other country in the world. The rest of the world looks at you with envy, at the progress you’ve made. The hemisphere has much to learn from your experience.”