Not ones to miss an opportunity to cricitize renewable fuels, a group led by the usual suspects of Big Oil and Big Food can come out against E12. While its unclear why such a statement is being made now, it nonetheless will not go unanswered.
A Bloomberg story today warned that deficit hawks in Congress – and potentially those that might be elected this fall – are targeting ethanol as an example of wasteful government spending. This a laughable conclusion when you stop to consider that the $5 billion invested in ethanol by the federal government in the form of tax incentives in 2009 was paltry compared to the $1.4 trillion deficit that year. And that's just the beginning of the shortsightedness with such an argument.
In the coming weeks, the EPA is expected to announce a ruling on whether to increase the ethanol content allowed in gasoline blends from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15). Unfortunately, the EPA has hinted it will limit the use of E15 to newer vehicles — those made more recently than 2001 or perhaps even 2007. Fortunately, there is no research suggesting that E15 damages cars and other vehicles, whatever their vintage. In order to further explore this issue, the Renewable Fuels Association commissioned a study by the internationally recognized automotive engineering firm, Ricardo, Inc.
Since its creation, the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Loan Guarantee Program (as established by the 2005 energy bill) has been defined by inaction and obstruction and is largely seen as a complete failure to date in terms of bringing next generation biofuel technologies to the marketplace. Additionally, the loan guarantee program has been raided time and again to pay for other federal programs with little if anything to do with renewable energy. Despite repeated promises to restore funding, money stolen from the program is still MIA. At the Senate hearing this Thursday, DOE officials and members of Congress have some explaining to do.
It’s a mystery. For what reason does the EPA suggest it needs to bifurcate the introduction of E15 for cars 2001 and newer? Since an answer hasn’t been provided to date despite a significant amount of testing having already occurred to assess the safety higher level ethanol blends, RFA and Ricardo, Inc. decided to prove once and for all that E15 is safe for use in older cars.
While most Americans got a head start to the long Labor Day weekend by knocking off early Friday, corn futures traders had their most active day in 133 years. According to Drover’s, a record 556,034 corn futures contracts (the equivalent of 2.8 billion bushels of corn!) changed hands last Friday, marking the single busiest day in the corn markets since the Chicago Board of Trade began trading grain in 1877.
Not since the commodity prices spikes of 2008 have speculators held such a prominent role in grain markets. But, as a review of the data demonstrates, the speculators are back in a big way and just waiting for the opportunity to artificially inflate corn and other commodity prices.
Those who live in glass house ought not throw stones. It is quite brazenly disingenuous for UNICA to lecture Americans on our national ethanol policy. The Brazilian government has had a far heavier hand in growing the ethanol industry in that country than this post would lead you to believe.