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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Reckoning EPA’s Ozone Proposal

analysis  ozone  epa  regulation  economic impacts  oil and natural gas development 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 13, 2015

It’s expected that EPA will submit its recommendation for new ozone standards to the White House Office of Management and Budget next week, with the final rule due by Oct. 1.

The final outcome will be momentous. EPA could – and should – leave the existing standards in place at 75 parts per billion (ppb). That would be remarkable, given the long rulemaking process and the agency’s current inclination to regulate more, not less.

Conversely, reducing the standards to 65 ppb or possibly lower would make it the costliest regulation ever, with the potential to halt economic expansion and infrastructure development dead in their tracks. Stricter standards could result in a $270 billion reduction in GDP per year on average from 2017 through 2040 and an annual loss of 2.9 million job equivalents, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting.

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Energizing Arizona

analysis  arizona  biofuels  energy  epa  greenhouse gas emission reduction  ozone regulations  pricewaterhousecoopers  wood mackenzie 

Reid Porter

Reid Porter
Posted August 13, 2015

Our series highlighting the economic and jobs impact of energy in each of the 50 states continues today with Arizona. We started the series with Virginia on June 29 and reviewed Montana, Iowa and Alabama earlier this week. All information covered in this series can be found online here, arranged on an interactive map of the United States. State-specific information across the country will be populated on this map as the series continues.

As we can see with Arizona, the energy impacts of the states individually combine to form energy’s national economic and jobs picture: 9.8 million jobs supported and $1.2 trillion in value added.

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Energizing Alabama

analysis  alabama  economy and energy  epa  income  ozone regulations  pricewaterhousecoopers  wood mackenzie 

Reid Porter

Reid Porter
Posted August 12, 2015

Our series highlighting the economic and jobs impact of energy in each of the 50 states continues today with Alabama. We started the series with Virginia on June 29 and reviewed Montana and Iowa to begin this week. All information covered in this series can be found online here, arranged on an interactive map of the United States. State-specific information across the country will be populated on this map as the series continues.

As we can see with Alabama, the energy impacts of the states individually combine to form energy’s national economic and jobs picture: 9.8 million jobs supported and $1.2 trillion in value added.

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Energizing Iowa

analysis  iowa  biofuels  e15  epa  ethanol  gasoline costs  renewable fuel standard  pricewaterhousecoopers  wood mackenzie 

Reid Porter

Reid Porter
Posted August 11, 2015

Our series highlighting the economic and jobs impact of energy in each of the 50 states continues today with Iowa. We started the series with Virginia on June 29 and reviewed Montana to begin this week. All information covered in this series can be found online here, arranged on an interactive map of the United States. State-specific information across the country will be populated on this map as the series continues.

As we can see with Iowa, the energy impacts of the states individually combine to form energy’s national economic and jobs picture: 9.8 million jobs supported and $1.2 trillion in value added.

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NASCAR and E15: Raising the Yellow Flag

analysis  e15  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  regulation  epa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 7, 2015

NASCAR racing team owner Richard Childress has an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer this week in which he renders a full-throttle endorsement of E15 gasoline and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the federal program that requires more and more ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

Childress focuses on the specially formulated E15 (98 octane rating, compared to 90 octane in retail E15) that NASCAR uses in its customized, high-performance engines (725 horsepower, compared to 120 horsepower in a typical car engine, up to 200 horsepower in a large SUV).

Certainly, NASCAR racecars and the NASCAR-blend E15 are well-suited for each other. Less clear is why Childress is so enthusiastic about putting commercial-grade E15 in a car or truck, especially those built between 2001 and 2013 – something most car manufacturers don’t recommend.

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Gearing Up in the RFS Debate

analysis  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  epa  blend wall  american petroleum institute 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 27, 2015

More tools in the debate over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Fill Up On Facts.com has posted four short videos highlighting some of the disconnects between the original reasoning behind the RFS and the world we live in today – which is why the program should be fundamentally revamped, if not repealed.

Video No. 1 discusses the potential risks to vehicles from using E15 fuel – seen by some as a way to absorb all of the ethanol mandated by the RFS above what can safely be blended as standard E10 gasoline – the ethanol “blend wall.”

Other videos show that the founding assumptions behind the RFS are disconnected from today’s reality.

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Leading on Reducing Methane Emissions

analysis  methane  emissions  epa  american petroleum institute  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 24, 2015

Some thoughts on EPA’s proposed program to encourage voluntary methane emissions reductions from existing sources. The Methane Challenge Program would expand on the Natural Gas STAR program by recognizing companies that make specific emissions reduction commitments and agree to submit annual data on the progress they’re making.

First, industry supports voluntary. The program could be supportive of what industry already is doing to reduce methane emissions – an effort that is working. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report issued this spring showed methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down 79 percent since 2005 – a period in which natural gas production has soared.

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EPA’s Infrastructure-Halting Ozone Proposal

analysis  ozone  epa  regulation  economic impacts  infrastructure  transportation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 22, 2015

An informative event this week hosted by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, highlighting some potential real-world impacts of EPA’s proposal to tighten national ozone standards. Underscore “real-world impacts,” because the discussion centered on the potential havoc EPA’s proposal could unleash on transportation projects all over the country. “There’s going to be real people who’re going to be really upset,” said Karen A. Harbert, Institute president and CEO.

It’s important to see EPA’s ozone proposal in that light. The possible macro-economic harm that stricter ozone standards could bring – GDP reduction of $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, according to one study – have been discussed here and elsewhere. But individual Americans may or may not relate to them, they’re so large.

The institute discussion and its new report, “Grinding To a Halt – Examining the Impacts of New Ozone Regulations on Key Transportation Projects” – help bring potential problems with stricter ozone standards to Americans’ doorsteps. Or, more specifically, to their daily commutes – which could get tougher if all kinds of transportation projects are terminated or delayed because they’re proposed in areas that would be in nonattainment with the new ozone standards.

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Hearing More About the Dysfunctional RFS

analysis  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  epa  ethanol  e85  e15  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 21, 2015

With another congressional hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) scheduled this week, a couple of glimpses behind the curtain at EPA help explain why the RFS is dysfunctional and needs to be repealed or dramatically overhauled.

Glimpse No. 1 comes from a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing last month, chaired by Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma. The witness was EPA’s Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the office of air and radiation. Tune in at about the 1-hour, 24-minute mark of the archived video to see Lankford’s discussion with McCabe about how EPA sets annual ethanol use requirements under the RFS.

The overriding issue is the ethanol “blend wall” – the point where the RFS requires blending more ethanol into the national fuel supply than can be used in E10 gasoline. At that point some think that higher ethanol-blend fuels like E15 and E85 will help meet RFS ethanol mandates. But E15 can cause damage to engines and fuel systems in vehicles that weren’t designed to use it – as well as outdoor power equipment, boats and motorcycles. And E85 is less energy-dense than standard gasoline – getting fewer miles to the gallon. It represents a tiny fraction of overall gasoline demand, a strong signal from consumers.

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E15 and Boats: Don’t Get Left High – And Not So Dry

analysis  e15  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  ethanol  epa  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 17, 2015

Lots of people are concerned that increasing the presence of E15 in the nation’s fuel supply could have adverse impacts on devices powered by gasoline.

Studies show E15 can damage engines and fuel systems in cars and trucks that weren’t designed to use it. (Click here for a matrix that shows most vehicles on the road today aren’t recommended for operating on E15 by manufacturers.) Motorcycles and outdoor power equipment could be negatively affected by using E15, too.

That’s a concern of marine engine manufacturers and boating enthusiasts as well.

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