Posted December 12, 2014
Posted November 24, 2014
For months we’ve been pointing out the brokenness of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the federal law requiring ever-increasing use of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.
We’ve written about the impending “blend wall,” the point where the RFS would require blending more ethanol into gasoline than could be safely used as E10, potentially putting motorists at risk for damage to vehicles while also potentially risking small-engine equipment and marine engines. We’ve written about RFS-mandated use of “phantom” liquid cellulosic biofuels – a fuel that hasn’t been commercially available despite the recent inclusion by EPA of landfill bio gas in that category (more about that in a future post). And we’ve written about how the 2014 requirements for ethanol use were months and months late from EPA, caught up in election-year politics.
The RFS is indeed broken. Late last week EPA basically agreed, announcing it’s waving the white flag on trying to issue ethanol-use requirements for 2014, which has just a little over one month to go. Instead, the agency said it will complete the 2014 targets in 2015 “prior to or in conjunction with action on the 2015 standards rule.”
Posted November 5, 2014
A couple of quick observations on issues related to the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
First, the ethanol use requirements for 2014 now are 11 months late. The requirements from EPA were supposed to be issued by Nov. 30 of last year, so that refiners could plan this year’s operations to comply with the RFS’ ethanol mandates. Instead, they’ve been forced to try to divine what EPA might require. Now, with roughly 330 of the year’s 365 days passed, the guessing game turned absurd long ago.
Posted October 15, 2014
The State Journal (West Virginia): The U.S. Energy Information Administration's Drilling Productivity Report, released Oct. 14, revealed that the Marcellus Shale play is anticipated to produce more gas than other reported regions in November.
The Marcellus region is expected to produce 16,045 million cubic feet of gas per day in November 2014, reflecting a 217 mcf/day increase from October, making it both the highest-producing region among the Utica, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Niobrara and Permian basins.
Posted October 8, 2014
Others are picking up on how late EPA is in setting this year’s ethanol use requirements – as well as how political calculations appear to be affecting the administration’s management of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Politico (subscription required) has this:
The Obama administration is nearly a year late in setting its 2014 biofuels mandate, but both ethanol supporters and critics say with politics at play, the White House may delay its decision until after the midterm elections.
Several sources following the issue closely say that the White House hoped that boosting the overall volumes would be enough to act as a boon to (Democrat Bruce Braley in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race). But renewable fuels advocates in the state aren’t happy with that compromise, so anything short of a clear victory for ethanol makers could hurt Braley’s campaign. … “If they increase the number, but it’s still tied to the (ethanol) blend wall, in our view, they will have killed the program, and that will be seen as a huge loss for Braley, and they’ll wait until after the election,” said one person in the biofuels industry. “If it’s good for Braley, it’ll be before the election. If it’s bad for Braley, it’ll be a punt. And people will see the punt.”
Indeed they will. They can’t help but see energy policy being contorted to serve political ends. It’s no way to conduct energy policy, and it’s no way to treat Americans who ultimately could be impacted by decisions (or the lack thereof) under the RFS.
Posted October 2, 2014
The absurdity surrounding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) continues:
Those Late 2014 Ethanol Requirements – EPA now is 10 months late with setting this year’s requirements for ethanol use. Under the RFS, the agency is required to tell obligated parties, like refiners, how much ethanol they’re required to use in a calendar year by November of the previous year. Thus, requirements for 2014 ethanol use were due in November, 2013.
As it is we’re getting closer to the point where the absurd becomes the ridiculous, with the growing possibility EPA could end up setting 2014’s requirements in 2015. It would be like something from one of the late, great Johnny Carson’s “Carnac the Magnificent” sketches: “Oh Unfortunate Ones, here’s how much ethanol you should have used …”
Posted August 11, 2014
API has put together a new infographic that captures the breadth of this administration’s policies – especially an ongoing regulatory push from EPA – that could slow progress that’s being built on America’s energy revolution. (Click here to pull up the PDF.)
Here’s the thrust: The administration’s policies and regulatory efforts are hindering needed energy and economic progress. It is delaying infrastructure, such as pending liquefied natural gas export projects and the Keystone XL pipeline. It is sustaining the broken Renewable Fuel Standard and its ethanol mandates, which could negatively affect consumers and the larger economy. It’s threatening new regulation that would needlessly impact the refining sector, while advancing a stricter ozone standard that would put virtually the entire country out of compliance.
Posted June 18, 2014
Almost half of 2014 is behind us, and yet EPA still hasn’t finalized the ethanol requirements for this year. This is not a recipe for predictability and reliability in the gasoline markets, and the administration’s inability to meet the congressionally-mandated deadline of November 30th is a clear example of how unworkable the RFS is.
Posted November 20, 2013
Future of U.S. Energy Production is Bright
KAAL ABC Rochester 6: The U.S. is entering a new era of energy production said former national security advisor General James Jones who made a stop in Rochester Tuesday. He says the future of U.S. energy is bright.
Most people have noticed a change when they go to fill up.
"Gas being $3.20 instead of $3.80," said Scott Heck.
Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce member Scott Heck knows a lot more is happening with the U.S. energy industry than what we can see at the gas pump.
"Certainly being from North Dakota I know people that have been dramatically affected by the abundance of energy up there," said Heck.
North Dakota is just one of the areas that has seen the effects of the U.S. oil boom.
"The U.S. is now the largest producer of oil and gas," said General Jones.
General Jones is a former national security advisor to President Obama. He say with recent innovations and technologies the United States is now in a position where it may soon no longer have to rely on foreign oil.
"This is a whole different ball game, we need to develop our resources widely, this energy leverage gives us a role of influence in the world that we haven't enjoyed for a long time," said General Jones.
Read more: http://bit.ly/18QwkqR
Posted October 25, 2013
The Case Against Renewable Fuel Standard Subsidies
American Enterprise Institute: How did we reach the point where the government is promoting a dreadful fuel that gets worse fuel economy than gasoline or diesel, drives up food prices, damages car engines and has unintended environmental consequences?
The Renewable Fuel Standard has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with government-imposed mandates. It is causing more harm than good and should be scrapped.
For years, ethanol was promoted as a renewable, homegrown alternative to gasoline, a way to reduce tailpipe emissions and dependence on imported oil.
In 2007, as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act, Congress adopted the RFS, requiring refiners to blend 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol into gasoline by 2013 and up to 36 billion gallons by 2022. This mandate, however, has become completely unworkable and unnecessary.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1hg9Mqv