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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Straight Talk on the RFS, Ethanol Mandates

renewable fuel standard  ethanol blends  e85  e15  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 24, 2014

In recent years we’ve regularly disagreed with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) because its ethanol mandates could harm consumers and the broader economy. The conversation with Big Ethanol has been, well, spirited. That said, hats off to RFA for including an oil and natural gas industry executive as one of the keynote speakers at the recent National Ethanol Conference (NEC).

Marathon Petroleum’s David Whikehart, director of product supply and optimization, was invited, said RFA’s Bob Dinneen, because “it is critical that we be open to the message of our customer.” A constructive view for sure.

The oil and natural gas industry supports ethanol and other renewable fuels. We are the ethanol industry’s biggest customer. Yet, the ethanol mandates in the RFS potentially could result in damaged vehicle engines as well as powerand marine equipment and already have played a part in higher food costs and other consumer impacts recently. All of the above threaten to erode critical public support for renewable fuels, which is why the RFS should be repealed.

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Energy Yesterday and Tomorrow

jobs  Jobs and Economy  oil and natural gas development  renewable fuel standard  e15  keystone xl pipeline  fracking 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 30, 2013

As 2013 nears its end, noting some of the year's most popular Energy Tomorrow Blog posts:

Jobs = Job 1

PwC’s latest detailing of the economic impacts of oil and natural gas activity ranked the highest in readership. And why not: It’s a great story. PwC found that in 2011, the last year for which complete data is available, the industry recorded these key numbers:

  • 9.8 million full- and part-time jobs supported, directly and indirectly.
  • $1.2 trillion added to the economy, accounting for 8 percent of the national total.
  • Nearly $600 billion contributed in associated labor income – including wages, salaries, benefits and proprietors’ income.

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On RFS, 'This Is All About Consumers'

consumers  renewable fuel standard  ethanol blends  e15  e10 blend wall  e85  epa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 10, 2013

EPA held the first of a series of public hearings last week on its 2014 ethanol use proposals under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), during which the National Chicken Council’s Mike Brown observed that the Washington, D.C., hearing basically attracted three groups of people: ethanol producers, corn producers and “the rest of us.”

Quite a bit of truth there. The debate over the RFS finds ethanol backers fairly isolated in arguing that the RFS is fine the way it is and that higher-ethanol blend fuels – like E15 and E85 – should be pushed more aggressively into the marketplace to satisfy the program’s mandates.

The stance has them at odds a number of interests, including consumer and food groups, auto manufacturers, the makers of small-engine vehicles and equipment, turkey and chicken producers, restaurant owners and more. Strikingly, AAA, the venerable travel/motoring organization, has been criticized by Big Ethanol for opposing wider use of E15, which studies have shown could damage engines in vehicles not designed to use it. 

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Don't Get Snowed by E15

e15  renewable fuel standard  ethanol in gasoline  epa  engine safety 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 2, 2013

As EPA opens a 60-day comment period on its proposals for next year’s required ethanol use levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), below is a light-hearted reminder that higher-ethanol blend fuels like E15 – which ethanol supporters advocate as a way to meet RFS mandates – pose significant risks for small engines.

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E15 and the 95 Percent

e15 gas blend  engine safety  epa  ethanol lobby  consumers 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted November 6, 2013

They’re at it again. The ethanol lobby’s biggest voice, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), issued a press release last week trying to defend E15, the controversial fuel blend containing up to 15 percent ethanol. Only in this case, RFA was defending against an imaginary argument.

RFA claims the development of new vehicle models that can withstand E15 – which research has shown could damage enginesand fuel systems in models that weren’t designed to use it – “shines a bright light on Big Oil’s long-sustained, detrimental resistance to infrastructure build out.”

It’s an imaginary argument because no one opposed the increasing availability of E15-compatible cars. The problem with E15 is the 95 percent of the vehicle fleet that isn’t built to handle E15 and the retroactive nature of the E15 partial waiver.

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The RFS and Looking Out for Consumers, Real Choice

e15  e85  renewable fuel standard  consumers  epa  aaa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 1, 2013

It’s understandable that supporters of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) might be anxious these days. Consider that EPA reportedly is thinking about lowering its 2014 ethanol mandates under the RFS, and that more than 160 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are urging the same in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

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The 'Acute Effects' of Higher Ethanol on Outdoor Power Equipment

e15  ethanol blends  renewable fuel standard  consumers 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 31, 2013

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 84 small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers worldwide, is closely watching public discussion of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s ethanol mandates and the push for wider use of E15 fuel. That’s because the small engines its members build and supply aren’t designed for higher ethanol blends. A look at E15 from OPEI and others in the small-engine sector.

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RFS = Rising Costs for Bakers

renewable fuel standard  e15  epa  ethanol 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 25, 2013

For the American Bakers Association (ABA), the Renewable Fuel Standard is a market distorter, affecting acreage that’s devoted to growing wheat for food and impacting prices. Like the National Chicken Council, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and other groups, America’s bakers want relief from the detached-from-reality RFS.

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VIDEO: Ethanol Mandates = 'Inertia and Maybe a Little Greed'

renewable fuel standard  e15  ethanol in gasoline  regulation  epa 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted October 24, 2013

In a recent video op-ed in USA Today, forum editor David Mastio explains why we use ethanol in gasoline. Don’t worry, it’s not a technical presentation. There’s no scientific or technical rationale given for adding ethanol to gasoline. Ethanol isn’t added to improve engine performance, it doesn’t improve fuel efficiency and, according to Mastio, it increases some kinds of pollution while decreasing others.

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Rising Ethanol Blends Don't Float All Boats

renewable fuel standard  ethanol in gasoline  regulation  epa  e15 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 24, 2013

Let’s continue discussion of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), it’s detachment from market reality and its impacts on consumers – impacts that go well beyond the oil industry. Yesterday, we looked at the views of the National Chicken Council; today the view from the water, courtesy of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

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