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Energy Tomorrow Blog

ethanol-blends  epa34  e1534  engine-safety  renewable-fuel-standard 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
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.

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e1534  ethanol  renewable-fuel-standard  regulation 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
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.

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e1534  blend-wall  ethanol 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted September 10, 2013

Two recent news items:  First, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that U.S. gasoline consumption was about 50,000 barrels per day lower during the first half of 2013 compared to 2012 – despite an improving economy and slightly lower prices at the pump this summer. Second, Carl Edwards won NASCAR’s Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond, Va., over the weekend. What they have in common … is ethanol.

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ethanol  renewable-fuel-standard  e1534  e8534  blend-wall 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted August 19, 2013

If you didn't see last week's USA Today editorial calling for repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), it's certainly worth reading. The editorial's key points:

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cellulosic-ethanol  renewable-fuel-standard  epa34 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted August 12, 2013

The EPA just can’t seem to deal with reality. Disregarding both experience and evidence, the agency chose to once again mandate a phantom fuel: cellulosic biofuel. Instead of setting fuel requirements at a realistic volume, as directed by Congress and a court order, the EPA ordered the use of 4 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel this year, even though it has yet to be produced in commercial volumes.

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ethanol  blend-wall  renewable-fuel-standard  rfs34  gasoline  fuels 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted July 30, 2013

The Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) released a study last week highlighting the consequences of exceeding the blendwall:

“The current regulatory regime, if not reformed in some substantial manner, will likely spike gasoline prices in 2014, as federal mandates take the U.S. gasoline pool significantly above 10 percent ethanol by volume.”

The risk mentioned here isn’t coming as a surprise. We’ve described the potential consequences of the RFS and highlighted the real costs of the program here, here, and here. EPRINC’s study brings all of these problems into focus, underscoring the immediate consequences that could face consumers in 2014.

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renewable-fuel-standard  rfs34  rfa34  ethanol  oil34  fuel 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted July 26, 2013

Earlier we took a look at claims by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) that ethanol production was “a particularly important catalyst” and “major driver” of declines in finished motor gasoline imports (Spoiler Alert: No).  Today, continuing the Sisyphean task of correcting false narratives put forth by the RFA, let’s look at the notion that ethanol is leading the way in providing energy security.  RFA’s statement in a House hearing this week:

In fact, cumulative new ethanol production since 2005 has accounted for 62% of new domestically-produced liquid fuels, while cumulative new U.S. crude oil production has accounted for 38%.

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ethanol  renewable-fuel-standard  rfs34  energy-101  regulations  rfa34 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted July 25, 2013

Over two days this week the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard concerns from scientists, poultry producers, automakers, drivers, restaurant owners, tool makers, store owners, environmentalists and the oil and natural gas industry about problems with E15 and/or the current Renewable Fuel Standard.  Leading the charge the other way was the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) with a simple message: our product is so great; the government should continue to force people to buy it.

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energy-101  gasoline  imports  renewable-fuel-standard  rfs34  ethanol 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted June 28, 2013

There is a classic xkcd cartoon where a one of the characters says they can’t come to bed because “Someone is wrong on the internet.”  Though the options for who exactly that someone was are almost unlimited, statistically there is a good chance the character was referring to Bob Dinneen.  Witness this tweet:

Ehthanol Bog

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brazil  e1534  epa34  ethanol 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted May 30, 2013

One of the frequent arguments from ethanol supporters is that the United States should simply follow the lead of Brazil and use a lot more ethanol in our fuel supply. Indeed, Vice President Joe Biden was full of praise for Brazil during remarks in Rio de Janeiro this week:

“You’re tapping your enormous natural resources, but also getting a greater share of your energy from clean and renewable energy sources than any other country in the world.  The rest of the world looks at you with envy, at the progress you’ve made. The hemisphere has much to learn from your experience.”

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