Posted November 13, 2013
Bloomberg: U.S. crude oil production exceeded imports in October for the first month since February 1995, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.
Output averaged 7.74 million barrels a day, the Energy Department’s statistical unit said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. Crude oil net imports were 7.57 million, down from 7.92 million the previous month.
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have unlocked supplies in shale formations in North Dakota, Texas and other states. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, has dropped to below $95 from above $110 in September as domestic output reached a 24-year high.
Posted November 12, 2013
Ethanol Investigation: The Dirty Cost of the Green Power Push
Associated Press: CORYDON, Iowa — The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America's push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.
Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.
It wasn't supposed to be this way.
With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama made homegrown corn a centerpiece of his plan to slow global warming. And when President George W. Bush signed a law that year requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline each year, Bush predicted it would make the country "stronger, cleaner and more secure."
But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.
Posted November 11, 2013
The cost of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hurts American businesses and consumers as ethanol production drives up food prices, higher-ethanol blend fuels get less mileage than conventional gasoline and higher blends can damage to engines both large and small.
The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) and others associated with classic cars are especially concerned with the impact on engines that weren’t designed for fuels containing ethanol – much less higher-ethanol blends – at a time when ethanol-free fuel is getting harder to find because the RFS-driven ethanol “blend wall” is forcing E0 gasoline out of the market, reducing choice for consumers. More on ethanol and the RFS from their perspective.
Posted November 8, 2013
The U.S. Department of Energy’s flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) fleet apparently isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A recent inspector general’s report found that DOE has been fueling its FFVs with regular gasoline instead of E85, eliminating many supposed environmental or cost benefits of having a fleet of cars that can use fuel containing up to 83 percent ethanol.
Two of DOE’s sites leased 854 FFVs at an additional cost of $700,000 over a comparable conventional fleet. In 2011, the managers of the cars were granted waivers for more than 75 percent of the vehicles so they could be filled with conventional fuel, “a practice that provided little or no environmental or economic benefit,” the IG said.
Here’s the significance in the ongoing debate over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use: Although the ethanol lobby keeps touting the benefits of FFVs and E85, the situation with DOE’s FFV fleet illustrates the fact that even the government, which was mandated to use the product, didn’t want to use it. This is consistent with the experience of the general public, which hasn’t accepted the use of E85 in their FFVs.
Posted November 8, 2013
When corn to produce ethanol requires more growing space, there’s less room for other crops, driving those prices higher. Demand for corn to make ethanol is driving the cost of feed for livestock higher, making meat costlier. And when some kinds of meat rise in price, demand (and thus, price) increases for cheaper meat. The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the American Meat Institute (AMI) add their voices to the other food industry perspectives on the RFS that we've highlighted in recent weeks.
Posted November 7, 2013
Check out a new video that quickly and efficiently captures the compelling reasons the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) should be repealed.
When the RFS was created in 2007, the U.S. was in a much different place energy-wise, looking at a future dominated by energy scarcity. But with the shale energy revolution that has unfolded in the past few years, driven by innovative technologies that have resulted in advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. is producing oil at levels not seen in nearly a quarter century.
Posted November 5, 2013
America’s Resurgence in Manufacturing Starts in the Shale Fields
Forbes: Our economy is straining at the bit to grow out of the Great Recession. You wouldn’t know that from the dreary news on both the jobs and GDP growth front. The good news is found in the incredible potential for high-paying jobs, growth and wealth creation bubbling up in America’s manufacturing sector.
Manufacturing is hot, even though we’re supposed to be in a post-industrial economy. The transformation in American manufacturing today is redolent of a century ago when innovation and growth in the industrial landscape was blossoming in both big companies and start-ups…
The dramatic growth in U.S. oil and gas production has not arisen from new discoveries or the opening of off-limits federal lands, but from new technologies and techniques that literally manufacture liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons from solid shale rock. Widely reported as “fracking” – hydraulic fracturing – the story is in fact one of deep industrial innovation, digital technologies and software. In other words, it is a secular shift in the industrial landscape.
Read more: http://onforb.es/1hgVN6i
Posted November 1, 2013
Last year the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR), the country’s leading organization exclusively representing chain restaurant companies, released a PwC report that detailed the impact of mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for ever-increasing corn ethanol use in fuel. The report estimated that by 2015 the RFS mandate would increase total costs for chain restaurant owners by up to $3.2 billion per year for every year the RFS remains in effect.
Posted November 1, 2013
Lawmakers Urge EPA to Change Fuel Mandate
The Hill: More than 100 lawmakers are calling on Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy to reduce the amount of ethanol that oil refiners must blend into gasoline next year.
Signed by 169 House members, the letter sent to McCarthy on Thursday urged the EPA to lower the renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing the current mandate is unrealistic.
"Whether it’s increasing amounts of ethanol in fuel or higher food and feed prices, the RFS continues to negatively impact American consumers and the economy," Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a statement.
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.