Posted September 12, 2014
One of the oft-repeated claims of ethanol producers is that higher-ethanol blend fuels like E15 are better for air quality than the E10 gasoline that’s the staple of the U.S. fuel supply. Short response: No. And while we’ve addressed the ethanol/air quality claim recently here and here, spurious assertions often have more lives than Lulu, my daughter’s cat. So let’s look at the facts and credible research again.
We’ll underscore “facts and credible research,” because an advocacy group is promoting a study on ethanol, air quality and potential cancer risks that isn’t an original study at all. Rather, it’s an overly simplistic exercise in data aggregation that ignores the confounding effects of different test procedures, laboratories and fuel properties. In other words, it’s a crummy analysis that would send real scientists running in the other way.
Posted September 9, 2014
If you’re keeping track at home – and we sure are – EPA is now nine months late in issuing ethanol-use requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014. That’s no typo. EPA is nine months late with its ethanol rule for this year.
By law EPA was required to set 2014 ethanol-use levels last November, 2013. You know, so that folks obligated under the RFS to blend ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply could actually plan to comply with the law
Posted August 29, 2014
New York Times: THREE RIVERS, Tex. — Whenever overseas turmoil has pushed energy prices higher in the past, John and Beth Hughes have curbed their driving by eating at home more and shopping locally. But the current crises in Ukraine and Iraq did not stop them from making the two-hour drive to San Antonio to visit the Alamo, have a chicken fried steak lunch, and buy fish for their tank before driving home to Corpus Christi.
“We were able to take a day-cation because of the lower gas prices,” said Ms. Hughes.
The reason for the improved economics of road travel can be found 10,000 feet below the ground here, where the South Texas Eagle Ford shale is providing more than a million new barrels of oil supplies to the world market every day. United States refinery production in recent weeks reached record highs and left supply depots flush, cushioning the impact of all the instability surrounding traditional global oil fields.
Posted August 27, 2014
There was an interesting article last year from Ian Boyd, a chief scientific adviser in the government of the United Kingdom. In it Boyd looks at the role that science plays in public policy, including this clarification and warning:
Strictly speaking, the role of science should be to provide information to those having to make decisions, including the public, and to ensure that the uncertainties around that information are made clear. When scientists start to stray into providing views about whether decisions based upon the evidence are right or wrong they risk being politicised.
This comes to mind with a recent Huffington Post article lauding a proposal that would require Chicago service stations to offer E15 fuel, authored by Michael Wang and Jennifer Dunn, scientists with the Argonne National Laboratory.
Wang and Dunn write that mandating E15 – containing 50 percent more ethanol than the E10 gasoline that’s the staple of the U.S. fuel supply – is a “step in the right direction,” because of its environmental benefits. Actually, the Chicago ethanol mandate would be a giant leap backward for consumers, small business owners and, yes, the environment.
Posted August 22, 2014
The national standard for ground-level ozone hardly needs tinkering. As noted earlier this year by Howard Feldman, API’s director of scientific and regulatory affairs, air quality in the U.S. has been steadily improving in recent years, and the health case for a more stringent ozone standard, which EPA may propose, hasn’t been made:
“We recognize that EPA has a statutory duty to periodically review the standards. However, the current review of health studies has not identified compelling evidence for more stringent standards. Tightened standards could impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on virtually every part of the nation, including rural and undeveloped areas. These could be the costliest EPA regulations ever.”
Costly nationally and to the states individually. A report for the National Association of Manufacturers says the U.S. could see a $270 billion per year reduction in GDP and 2.9 million fewer job equivalents per year on average through 2040. We’ve looked at potential state impacts in North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky and Michigan. Today, Arkansas:
Posted August 21, 2014
As with other states we’ve recently highlighted – North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana and Kentucky – the impacts of more stringent standards for ground-level ozone on Michigan could be wide and significant. According to a recentreport from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Michigan could see $75.3 billion gross state product loss from 2017 to 2040 and 83,092 lost jobs or job equivalents per year.
Posted August 20, 2014
Other voices continue to weigh in on the higher-ethanol blend fuels, E15 and E85. Three associations representing independent petroleum marketing companies and fuel retail outlets have written the White House, expressing concern for the fuels’ compatibility with the nation’s vehicular fleet and consumer acceptance.
In separate letters to John Podesta, White House counselor for energy and climate policy – the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) in one and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) in another – the associations caution that pushing more and more E15 and E85 into the fuel supply could cause problems for retailers and consumers.
Posted August 19, 2014
We’ve posted recently on potential roadblocks to the progress America’s energy revolution is providing – posed by administration policies and new regulatory proposals (infographic). Among them are proposed stricter standards for ground-level ozone that could put 94 percent of the country out of compliance, potentially impacting the broader economy and individual households.
Looking at the possible state-level effects of a more stringent ozone proposal in North Carolina, Ohio and Louisiana reveals a clearer picture of potential impacts on Americans’ lives. Kentucky, already at the forefront of a coal-related regulatory push, could see significant economic harm from a new ozone standard, according to a National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) report.
Posted August 18, 2014
Louisiana is an important energy-producing state – the country’s No. 2 crude oil producer at nearly 1.45 million barrels per day when federal offshore output is included. The state also is No. 2 in petroleum refining capacity.
Energy development is boosting Louisiana’s economy. Oil and natural gas extraction, refining and the pipeline industries support 287,000 state jobs and billions in household earnings and sales to state businesses, according to arecent study. At the same time, energy activity is part of the reason new, stricter ground-level ozone standards could have major impacts in Louisiana.
Posted August 14, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Jay Timmons, NAM): In a town famous for inaction, Washington is gearing up to take action on a major policy issue. But there's a hitch: The outcome could be the most expensive regulation in the nation's history, possibly tanking the economy and costing jobs at a time when businesses, manufacturers and families are making a comeback.
Later this year, the Environmental Protection Agency will decide whether it should tighten the air-quality standard for ground-level ozone. There are several things about this possible new standard that are alarming.