An EPRINC report released on Sep. 14 entitled “Ethanol’s Lost Promise” advocates repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The paper suggests removing the RFS could reduce the oil refining sector’s ethanol consumption down to 6.1 billion gallons annually (compared to 12.5 billion gallons in 2011). EPRINC suggests the void left by smaller ethanol supplies could be filled with imported gasoline, increased gasoline yields at the expense of diesel/distillate production, expanding U.S. refining capacity, and other infeasible options. In response to RFA’s reaction to its study, EPRINC tried to defend it with yet more conflicting and misleading statements. Once again, RFA is stepping forward to refute fiction with fact.
A report released today by Battelle, sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute (API), claims a recent rash of corrosion incidents in storage and handling equipment for Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) use stems from ethanol contamination. Under normal, everyday storage and handling conditions, ethanol should never come into contact with diesel fuel; ethanol is a gasoline additive.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal published Letter to the Editor of mine, which was in response to "Ethanol vs the World." On the same day, the Journal published yet another sarcastic screed, “How Ethanol Causes Joblessness” that ridiculed what it claims was the methodology behind a study by academic economists that showed the increased use of domestic ethanol fuel lowered gas prices by a national average of $1.09 in 2011. Responding to this attack, I submitted another editorial, which was rejected by the Editorial Features Staff. Please read said editorial in this post.
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.
Gas prices are dominating the headlines and we have yet to embark on the summer driving season, the traditional kick-off to high gas prices. With Congress holding hearings this week on gas prices, the President holding a press conference today, voters taking to the polls today, and the energy world gathering in Houston this week, we have analyzed the data to provide background information on the downward pressure exerted by domestic ethanol production on gasoline prices.
2011 was a momentous year for America’s ethanol industry both domestically and internationally. From new markets to new technologies to a new policy framework, the events of 2011 will shape the future of America’s renewable fuel industry.
Recent claims from some marine engine manufacturers that E15 ethanol blends will ruin marine engines are meant solely to incite fear and not meaningful discussion. A meaningful discussion would note that E15 is illegal for use in marine engines, that the testing being cited is not comprehensive, and that the ethanol industry has repeatedly extended olive branches to work on the concerns boaters and others have raised.
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.
The fine folks at STIHL Incorporated have recently recalled 2.3 million gasoline-powered yard tools like edgers and trimmers. The reason? Ethanol, says STIHL. But an examination of the facts, and STIHL own warranties approving the use of 10% ethanol blends, demonstrates that the issue not with the fuel, but with the engineering of the equipment itself.
For millions of Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. Despite gas prices that are nearly 40% higher than a year ago, families across the nation will celebrate the upcoming holiday weekend by taking a road trip. As families hit the road this weekend, the increasing availability of ethanol will ensure they spend considerably less on gasoline than would otherwise be the case.
Since its very inception, the global biofuels industry has unfairly been portrayed by some ardent detractors as a sector that creates an unavoidable “food vs. fuel” choice. Luddites and Malthusians have suggested that crop-based biofuels simply can’t provide significant volumes of energy for transportation without starving the world’s poor. Unfortunately, these extreme views of biofuels have sometimes been fortified by alarmist rhetoric and doomsday sound bites from leaders of major international organizations, quasi-governmental groups, and NGOs. Against this backdrop, it was quite refreshing to see two reports in the last week that highlight the extraordinary potential of biofuels to serve as agents of rural development and enhancers of food security in developing nations.
America's commitment to ethanol and renewable fuels has been a unparalleled success for rural America. It has created jobs, spurred economic activity, and even given some rural residents a reason and the opportunity to move back home. Yet, critics of ethanol would lead you to believe that ethanol is the scourage of rural America. A new paper from an anti-ethanol group, Food and Water Watch, goes so far as to compare domestic ethanol production to the illegal methamphetamine plague impacting rural areas. Like much of the rhetoric from those opposing ethanol, this paper is not based on the facts and takes poetic license to irresponsible levels.
Today, nearly all of our nation’s gasoline supply contains up to 10% ethanol. With this, questions often arise about whether or not the ethanol-blended fuel is okay to use in engines like lawnmowers, weed-whackers, snowmobiles and marine equipment. To avoid confusion, the RFA has put together The Use of Ethanol-Blended Fuels in Non-Road Engines, which thoroughly goes though important issues surrounding ethanol blended fuels and non-road engines.
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).
Today, ethanol-blended fuels are bringing the price down at the pump for consumers. Customers are able to spend between a nickel and a dime less than what they would pay for conventional gasoline. Despite this, the New Hampshire House of Representatives recently voted to put a ban on corn-based ethanol in the state. This bill will not only increase gas prices and lead us down a road toward more imported oil, it will also hinder the very market into which advanced and cellulosic ethanol producers will one day want to sell.
As oil prices soar and gas prices spike even before the start of the summer driving season, lawmakers in Nebraska and New Hampshire take divergent positions on America's dependence on oil. One is seeking to increase its use of domestic renewable fuels. The other is choosing to head down a path of increased oil dependence.