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Energy Tomorrow Blog

RFS: Still Broken, Still in Need of Action

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  consumers 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 2, 2016

The history of the RFS is that EPA’s enthusiasm for the program has seen the agency mandate ever-increasing volumes of ethanol in the fuel supply, potentially putting consumers at risk by pushing fuels into the marketplace that could damage the engines of vehicles, motorcycles, boats and small power equipment. At the same time the RFS’ original purpose of developing a commercially viable, national supply of cellulosic biofuel has become submerged in a growing ocean of corn ethanol. In short, that’s where America and the RFS stand today.

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The RFS Reform Opportunity

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  ethanol  blend wall 

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted November 18, 2016

As congressional leaders set priorities for the end-of-year session, lawmakers should consider action on the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). There’s bipartisan consensus for addressing the RFS – either repealing it outright or making major reforms. This week, Frank Macchiarola, API downstream group director, conducted a conference call with reporters on the problems with the RFS and the need for congressional action.

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Consumer Interests Paramount in Pending Fuels Policy

consumers  renewable fuel standard  ethanol  e15  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 18, 2016

The Renewable Fuel Standard, created a decade ago to strengthen U.S. energy security and benefit American consumers, is doing neither. The RFS is broken and should be repealed or significantly reformed – with the interests of consumers the top priority. That’s the message API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola delivered during a conversation with a group of energy reporters this week.

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Changing Point of Obligation Not an RFS Solution

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  consumers 

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted September 13, 2016

Changing the point of obligation under the RFS will not fix the blend-wall problem or address vehicle compatibility. Nearly 90 percent of vehicles on the road today were not designed for higher ethanol blends, such as E15.  And many automakers say that using E15 could potentially void those car warranties. These higher ethanol blends threaten engines and fuel systems – potentially forcing drivers to pay for costly repairs, according to extensive testing done by the auto and oil and natural gas industries.  Moving the point of obligation does nothing to address this fuel incompatibility problem.

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Energizing Iowa

iowa  vote4energy  oil and natural gas  ethanol  states2016 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 18, 2016

Given the fact Iowa leads the U.S. in corn production (18.4 percent of the national total last year), it follows that the state would also lead the country in biofuel production. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Iowa is the country’s largest ethanol producer, supplying 27.3 percent of U.S. fuel ethanol operating capacity in 2015. Iowa also is a big wind state, ranking second among the 50 states in net electricity generation from wind last year. Yet, at the same time, EIA says fossil fuels supplied more than 70 percent of the energy Iowans used in 2014, further illustrating the all-of-the-above nature of energy at state and local levels.

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Bringing Consumer Focus to RFS Debate

renewable fuel standard  consumers  ethanol  e15 

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted August 9, 2016

Thanks to an energy renaissance here in the United States, Americans driving to their summer destinations have been enjoying low prices at the pump. To keep this progress going, we need to end harmful policies that could raise the cost of energy and negatively impact millions of vehicles on the road.

As the EPA works to finalize its 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard volumes, API is launching a new multi-faceted advocacy campaign that will include TV and online advertising. Our campaign will focus on how higher ethanol mandates can hurt consumers, potentially raise costs and possibly void automobile warranties.

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Listen to Voters on the RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  ethanol  epa  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 27, 2016

Two more results from the new Harris Poll on what Americans are thinking about key energy issues.

First, 77 percent of registered voters say they’re concerned about government requirements that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline. Second, 73 percent agree that federal government regulations could contribute to increased costs for gasoline to consumers.

Both results basically point fingers at the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – which indeed is Washington pushing for more ethanol in gasoline, which experts and studies warn could impact consumers at the gasoline pump and at the repair shop.

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The RFS and Real Consumer Choice

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  epa  e15  e85  consumers 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 10, 2016

We often hear proponents of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) argue that mandating increasing use of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply is about consumer choice. This view is reflected in some of the news coverage of this week’s RFS public hearing in Kansas City.

Yet, when you look at the marketplace and the fuels consumers actually want, the RFS represents restricting choice, not expanding it.

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RFS Proposal Doesn’t Protect Consumers Enough

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  epa  ethanol  e15  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 18, 2016

One unsettling aspect of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is that for some time it has appeared – from public statements anyway – that EPA considers the program an ongoing experiment, testing the ability of government policy to change or modify the behavior of free markets and the fueling choices of individual consumers, with consumers as the guinea pigs.

The results were logged in long ago: Flaws in the RFS and EPA’s management of the program mark it for repeal or significant reform. RFS mandates for increasing ethanol use in the nation’s fuel supply threaten breaching the ethanol “blend wall,” risking impacts to the broader economy and consumers’ wallets.

Just as unfortunate is EPA’s apparent lack of concern for U.S. consumers –reflected in the agency’s proposals for 2017 volume levels, which will test the blend wall, the point where required use of ethanol in the fuel supply exceeds the safe level of 10 percent.


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Repeal or Significantly Reform the RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  epa  vote4energy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 25, 2016

API’s Vote4Energy event earlier this month unveiled a number of energy policy recommendations for the Democratic and Republican platform-writing committees. Let’s focus on one – a call for the repeal or significant reform of the flawed federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

We’ve posted on a number of issues with the RFS, which range from the negative economic impacts that could result from breaching the “blend wall” to possible risks to vehiclesfrom using higher ethanol-blend fuel E15, to the program’s failure to establish a viable domestic cellulosic biofuels industry – one of the main reasons the RFS was created in the first place. Americans are clued into the RFS’ shortcomings and are concerned – reflected in recent polling. API’s Frank Macchiarola, group director for downstream and industry operations:

“Since the inception of the ethanol mandate a decade ago, the United States has undergone an energy transformation from a nation of energy dependence and scarcity to one of energy security and abundance. It is well past time to reform outdated energy policies to reflect the energy realities of today and tomorrow. … Simply stated, this is bad public policy that creates a potential harm to the American consumer.  And, it must be fixed. The American people agree.” 

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