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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Consumer Interests Ahead of Ethanol Interests

analysis  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol blends  epa  consumers  american petroleum institute  Jack Gerard  e85  e15  e10 blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 29, 2015

With EPA already embarrassingly late in setting requirements for ethanol in the fuel supply for 2014 (due 18 months ago) and 2015 (due six months ago), the agency finally has proposals for those years and 2016 that would continue to drive ethanol use – though not at levels dictated by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Top EPA official Janet McCabe called the proposals “ambitious, but responsible.” We’ll agree on the ambitious part – in that it takes a whole lot of something to thread the needle between marketplace realities and the flawed RFS – difficult for the nimblest of bureaucracies, much less a regulatory colossus like EPA.

Unfortunately, EPA comes up short, particularly for 2016. An RFS program that long ago went awry remains lost in the tall weeds of process over substance.

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Sound Regulation, Policy Choices Key to Energy Growth

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  biofuels  energy exports  crude oil production  pennsylvania  fracking  solar 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 16, 2015

The Wall Street Journal: A former White House economic adviser is calling for changes to a 2005 law mandating increased use of alternative fuels in the nation’s transportation supply, adding a key voice to a growing chorus of people who say the policy is not working.

In a report published Thursday, Harvard University professor Jim Stock, who served on President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers in 2013 and 2014, proposes several reforms to the biofuels mandate, known as the renewable fuel standard, including some requiring congressional approval.

The report adds to a growing body of politicians and experts who are questioning the law’s effectiveness amid regulatory uncertainty and lower oil prices.

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America’s Energy is About Right Choices

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  regulation  ozone  taxes  keystone xl pipeline  alaska 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted March 12, 2015

Oil and natural gas industry groups joined by environmentalists and anti-hunger groups have joined forces to outline concerns with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and to ask Congress to repeal or significantly reform the program with its ethanol mandates. 

Additional coverage includes biofuels producers wanting accountability and reform on the RFS' ethanol requirements, and the push for eliminating the RFS once and for all.

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Growing Consensus On ‘Unworkable’ RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  biofuels  cellulosic biofuels  american petroleum institute  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 11, 2015

To the chorus of voices sounding the alarm on the broken Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – AAA, automakers, outdoor power equipment manufacturers, marine manufacturers, turkey and chicken producers, restaurant companies, grocery manufacturers, environmental non-profits and anti-hunger groups – add another: the advanced biofuels industry.

Given the fact the RFS was designed to encourage development of advanced and cellulosic biofuels, the Advanced Biofuels Association’s call for significant RFS reform is a game-changer in the ongoing public policy debate. ABFA President Michael McAdams at this week’s Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference:

“… the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) – the very tool that was created to foster our industry – has become one of the greatest obstacles to continued development of the advanced and cellulosic biofuel industry due to inconsistent and poor implementation.”

The issue is the way the RFS, through annual ethanol mandates, has resulted in ever-increasing production of ethanol made from corn – versus ethanol and other biofuels made from non-food feedstocks.

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Embracing America’s Energy Abundance

american energy  exports  fracking  pennsylvania  taxes  ethanol  rfs34 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted March 11, 2015

The Hill (Congress Blog): The ongoing shale oil renaissance and the United States’ abundant natural resources has transformed our energy landscape, allowing American consumers access to affordable fuel supplies and spurring significant investment and job growth across our economy. But in order for this renaissance to continue, it is critical that lawmakers ensure that U.S. policy keeps pace so that our energy resources are being leveraged to provide the maximum benefit to the nation’s economy and international geopolitical interests.

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Ethanol, Exports and Effective Energy Policies

ethanol  exports  energy policy  rfs34  jobs  fracking  keystone xl pipeline 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted March 10, 2015

The New York Times op-ed (Robert Bryce): With the collapse in global oil prices, members of Congress are once again pushing to raise the federal gasoline tax, with the proceeds going to new roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. While some in Congress might be averse to a tax increase of any kind, they might find it more palatable if it came packaged with a tax cut. Fortunately, there is a perfect option, a hidden levy that has benefited a small group of farmers and manufacturers in a handful of states: the corn ethanol tax.

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The Food, Environmental Dilemmas of the RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  environmental impact  ethanol  greenhouse gas emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 7, 2015

The politics of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use are on display this weekend in Iowa, a key presidential primary state. Nothing against Iowa – or ethanol, for that matter – but the RFS illustrates that when you mix energy policy and politics bad public policy can result.

Certainly, the RFS shows the difficulty of trying to apply central planning to the marketplace, of trying to mandate consumer behavior. The RFS is a relic of the era of energy scarcity in the U.S. whose best intentions have been superseded by surging domestic oil and natural gas production.

Still, the RFS remains and along with it potential risks to the economy, vehicle engines and more. It also risks unintended consequences, including a moral/ethical dilemma over whether food should be turned into fuels, as well as concern for the environmental impact of corn ethanol production.

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U.S. Energy and Policy Choices

american energy  fracking  ethanol  rfs34  colorado  new york  exports 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted March 6, 2015

Denver Business Journal: Colorado posted a new record for oil production in 2014, with more than 82.8 million barrels of crude oil pumped from the ground — about 85 percent of it from Weld County oil and natural gas wells, according to a Denver Business Journal analysis of figures posted on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) website. The state, along with the nation, has ridden a boom in oil development and production in the last few years.

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Listen to Vehicle Manufacturers on E15

e15  ethanol  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  engine safety  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 4, 2015

Let’s update an informative chart that’s critical in the continuing discussion of E15 fuel and the ethanol mandates of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

It lists, by vehicle manufacturers and model years, whether a specific manufacturer recommends operation of its vehicles on E15, which contains 50 percent more ethanol than the E10 fuel that’s prevalent across the country. We’ve posted the manufacturers/model years grid a number of times (including here and here), but this chart s updated to include the 2015 model year.

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The Facts and the RFS

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  ethanol  e15  engine safety  consumer confidence  epa  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 25, 2015

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for increasing use of ethanol continue to be debated publicly – in Congress, where lawmakers could vote to repeal the dysfunctional program and in places like Chicago, where service stations could be forced to carry higher-ethanol blend E15 fuel.

The Fill Up On Facts website is a great resource on the RFS, ethanol mandates and related issues. Information is available on the RFS itself, as well as problems that have made the program and its ethanol mandates untenable – like the refining “blend wall,” potential risks to vehicle and equipment engines and impacts on food prices.

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