Bob Dinneen responds to the latest episode of the Journal’s reign of terror about ethanol. The editorial distorts the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision, the progress and potential for cellulosic ethanol, the federal incentives for advanced biofuels, and the past century of subsidies for Big Oil.
This summer, several governors have submitted letter to the EPA requesting a waiver of the RFS for 2012 and 2013. Analysis from the RFA shows that waiving the RFS requirements for 2013 would actually result in a net increase in annual household spending of approximately $24-$85 due to increased spending on gasoline. Thus, waiving the RFS in 2013 would do more harm to American consumers than if EPA allows the program to continue to function as designed.
As E15 (85 volume percent gasoline, 15 volume percent ethanol) is poised to enter the marketplace, many consumers have questions about the use of E15 in their vehicles. The RFA has put together this FAQ document to best answer consumers questions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) for use in model year 2001 and newer vehicles. Now that E15 is being sold for use beyond flex-fuel vehicles, consumers have questions about using E15 their own vehicles. The RFA has compiled and Automobile Fact Sheet for E15 use.
As the nation teeters on the brink of default, lawmakers from both parties continue to squabble while others seek to further erode the progress America has made in reducing our reliance on imported oil.
With EPA’s final label for E15 ethanol blends now in the books, the real work must begin. Educating retailers about the safe and legal sale of the E15 blends, expanding ethanol fueling infrastructure, and putting the concerns of consumers to rest about the use of E15 in their approved vehicles must be and will be at the heart of what the ethanol industry and the RFA do in the coming months and years.
In a letter to industry stakeholders, EPA has reconfirmed it is illegal to sell E15 to gasoline-only vehicles and engines until all regulatory issues have been resolved. However, EPA also reaffirmed the legality of offering properly labeled E15 and any other ethanol blend from E11 to E85 for use Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs).
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen today is addressing the gathering of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association in Des Moines, Iowa. Dinneen is joining Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum, and others to speak on importance of ethanol and biofuels to state and the nation.
On November 16, the EPA will hold a public hearing about its proposed label for E15. While many of the people in the room may choose to use the venue to express their frustration about the decision as a whole, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that EPA’s proposed label will do little more than scare consumers. It needs to change.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal posted “The Ethanol Bailout”, in response to the U.S. EPA grant of the E15 waiver for MY2007 and newer cars and light trucks, claiming ethanol is highly corrosive and will damage to engines and exhaust systems. Yet, test after test has shown that ethanol blends up to E15 are safe and effective for all vehicles. The following is my Letter to the Editor: “Given the nature of the your editorial "The Ethanol Bailout" (Oct. 18), it may come a surprise that I agree with the Journal that the EPA's decision to allow more ethanol use in gasoline is not based on all the science. If it were, the EPA would have allowed the use of up to 15% ethanol in a gallon of gasoline for every vehicle on the road".......
Based upon Clean Air Act requirements, EPA is to consider all scientific evidence when evaluating new fuels. In the case of the E15 waiver, however, EPA completely ignored credible data submitted by RFA that demonstrated the efficacy of E15 in older vehicles. Ricardo, Inc., an internationally recognized automotive engineering firm used EPA’s own methodology to evaluate the likely effects of using E15 in vehicles model year (MY) 2000 and older. It is previously unheard of for EPA to deny a waiver request for vehicles that are beyond their EPA-determined useful life, as all MY2000 and older vehicles will be on January 1, 2011. Alas, c’est la vie. It is now up to the industry to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. We have introduced new fuels in this country before and the pathway to doing so is clear. It is a complicated process and one that will not happen overnight. Fortunately, the RFA has already begun this process.
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency granted the E15 waiver for model year (MY) 2007 and new vehicles. By doing this, the EPA is missing an opportunity to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and create new economic opportunity. This scientifically unjustified bifurcation of the U.S. car market will do little to move the needle and expand ethanol use today. Limiting E15 use to MY2007 and newer vehicles only creates confusion for retailers and consumers alike. America’s ethanol producers are hitting an artificial blend wall today. The goals of Congress to reduce our addiction to oil captured in the Renewable Fuels Standard cannot be met with this decision.
EPA is poised to make a decision on E15, but appears set upon a bifurcated market and partial waiver approach. By only approving E15 for 2007 and new vehicles, EPA is once again artificially limiting the U.S. ethanol market without providing any scientific justification. What does it all mean? How many new ethanol gallons will be sold? These are important questions and the answers are not at all clear.
Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy Heather Zichal reiterated the commitment of the Obama Administration to the entire ethanol industry regardless of technology or feedstock at RFA's Annual Membership Meeting this week. Specifically, Zichal highlighted the Administration's support of existing ethanol policy, including the tax incentive in its current form, as well as its commitment to ethanol technologies of every kind.
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.
The August 27 blog post “Corny Capitalism” on the American Spectator website begs the question: When did The American Spectator stop fact checking? In fact, with the outdated information used in this story, one has to wonder how long it sat on the shelf waiting for a slow, sleepy week in summer to be dusted off and electronically published. And what is Matt Purple and The American Spectator’s answer to ending this country’s dangerous – both in terms of human life as well as the environment – addiction to foreign oil? It would appear that they would prefer to continue the status quo of sending billions and billions of dollars to hostile countries like Iraq and Venezuela.
The Big Oil Status Quo coalition is up to their old games again. They are deploying every stall tactic they can think of to keep the EPA from making a decision that will ultimately help reduce this country’s dependence on environmentally unfriendly, foreign-sourced oil.
Despite the fact that real-world data and events have disputed the ILUC theory at every turn (e.g., grain and oilseed exports haven’t fallen off, soybean acreage hasn’t decreased, livestock feed use remains steady, Amazon deforestation is decreasing, etc., etc.), EPA’s final rule for the RFS2 institutes a severe ILUC penalty against corn ethanol and other biofuels. But there’s a major problem with how EPA derived its ILUC penalties: the agency based the penalties on modeling scenarios where each individual biofuel was isolated and volumes of that biofuel were increased while other biofuel volumes were held constant. Of course, that’s not how the RFS2 works—the regulation requires simultaneous increases of several types of biofuels. When EPA modeled a scenario in which all biofuels volumes were increased simultaneously in accordance with RFS2 requirements, the amount of land use change was half of what it was in the cases where EPA isolated individual biofuels. If EPA had used this modeling case to develop its LUC penalties, the hit to corn ethanol would have been 10.8 g CO2e/MJ, rather than EPA’s estimate of 28.4 g/MJ. Such a reduction in LUC emissions means overall lifecycle GHG emissions for 2022 average corn ethanol would be 38% less than baseline gasoline emissions, rather than the 21% estimate finalized by EPA.
Moving to E15 will require cooperation between the ethanol industry and those in the business of bringing fuel to American drivers. Today, that cooperation was on display as the RFA joined representatives from the nation's major gasoline marketing trade associations to address some of the challenges a move to E15 may present.