Posted October 14, 2013
Interesting analysis from Reuters, citing a leaked EPA document in which the agency indicates it may significantly reduce its biofuels mandate for 2014. The same document acknowledges that the refining “blend wall” is an “important reality,” according to Reuters. If accurate, the report suggests EPA is starting to hear what the oil and natural gas industry and a host of other voices have been saying about the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Posted October 14, 2013
Posted October 11, 2013
Analysis: Lawsuits Likely as EPA Declares U.S. Ethanol Blend Wall a ‘Reality’
Reuters: With two words, the U.S. environment regulator may be handing oil refiners the biggest win of a long battle to beat back the seemingly inexorable rise of ethanol fuel.
In a leaked proposal that would significantly scale back biofuel blending requirements next year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the blend wall - the 10 percent threshold of ethanol-mixed gasoline that is at the crux of the lobbying war - is an "important reality".
The agency's rationale for a cut in the volume of ethanol that must be blended echoes an argument the oil industry has been making for months: the U.S. fuel chain cannot absorb more ethanol.
Read more: http://reut.rs/1hIy6OU
Posted October 9, 2013
A tactic used by ethanol backers trying to defend the relatively defenseless Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is attempting to frame the RFS debate as one between America’s oil and natural gas companies and renewable energy.
That’s faulty for a couple of important reasons. First, we’re Big Ethanol’s biggest customers, buying billions of gallons a year, as a useful additive in E10 gasoline. Second, our companies are for renewables, not against them, investing $81 billion in renewables and carbon-reduction efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2012 – nearly as much as all other U.S. industries ($91 billion) and more than the federal government ($80 billion).
Posted October 7, 2013
It lurks on every car or truck dashboard, the little indicator light that indicates potentially big problems with your vehicle’s engine. If you’re like me, a glowing “check engine” light elicits a groan, a facepalm and maybe some choice words – if not instant fear that the engine might conk out right then and there. In any case a visit to the repair shop is in my future. There, my mechanic will try to figure out what the heck could be causing the “Malfunction Indicator Light” (MIL), to come on. It might be a problem, or it might be a false alarm, in which case you’re still out the time and inconvenience of a wasted trip to the mechanic.
Things to keep in mind as we revisit the issue of E15 fuel and falsely illuminating MILs, because research indicates that fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol could cause check engine lights to falsely illuminate.
Posted October 3, 2013
Thanks for your recent invitation to your “Ride & Drive” event. We agree that teaching the public about cylinder leakage in engines using E15 is valuable. Unfortunately, your invitation was sent to the wrong recipient.
You say that the Coordinating Research Council (CRC), which has been the gold standard in terms of vehicle testing for the better part of a century, used an “arbitrary threshold” for cylinder leakage during E15 testing. You seem upset about the results on vehicle damage. Surely you meant to address the invitation to the auto manufacturers, who have stated their concerns that E15 will damage engines, void warranties and reduce fuel efficiency.
Posted October 2, 2013
Results from a new public opinion poll strongly suggest that action by EPA and Congress is warranted on the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Key findings from the Harris Interactive survey of more than 1,000 registered voters:
- 77 percent said they’re concerned that using fuels containing ethanol blends above a 10 percent level can cause severe damage to car engines and fuel system components. They’re concerned that most auto manufacturers do not warranty their vehicles if the car’s owner runs it on fuels with a 15 percent ethanol blend.
- 69 percent are concerned that diverting more and more corn into making ethanol will result in higher food costs.
- 66 percent say regulation by the federal government could drive up the cost of gasoline for consumers.
Posted September 18, 2013
Editorial: U.S. Right to Approve Cove Point LNG Export License
Washington Post: SOME BUILDING projects may be shovel-ready. Others are shovel-desperate: they are reasonable proposals that make economic sense and boast private backers but are being slowed or blocked by interest groups leaning on the government.
One that belongs in the second category is a plan to convert a natural gas import plant, an expensive facility in Cove Point, Md., that’s sitting idle, into one that can handle exports to gas-hungry Japan and India. The Energy Department approved the plan last week, but in Baltimore on Tuesday, a coalition of environmentalists and citizens groups promised to prevent the project from getting the 60 or so additional signoffs it needs. They should find a better use for their time.
Posted September 18, 2013
In a piece in Forbes, contributor Michael Lynch writes that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is “one of the worst-designed government policies since we had caverns full of surplus cheese.” Yeah, that’ll leave a mark.
Yet, Lynch's characterization is on target in the case of the broken, out-of-touch RFS – with its ever-rising mandates for ethanol use that are propelling us toward the refining “blend wall” and potential harm to consumers and the broader economy. Bob Greco, API’s group director of downstream and industry operations, detailed the “reality gap” reasons the RFS should be repealed in a conference call with reporters – reasons that also back industry’s request that EPA reduce the total renewable fuels volume requirement to a level below 10 percent of overall gasoline demand for 2014.
Posted September 16, 2013
Debate Revs as Decision Stalls Over Oil Pipeline From Canada
NPR: Five years ago this week, a Canadian company proposed building a pipeline to send heavy crude oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries. Although the Obama administration's answer on the Keystone XL pipeline is not expected anytime soon, politicians in Washington and Canada are ramping up the pressure for the project, while environmentalists are pushing hard against it.