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April 18, 2014

Ethanol Battle Flares Again

Arguments over the renewable fuel standard heated up at an EPA public hearing Thursday.

Reuters reports that “about 300 people attended [the hearing on the] proposed changes which have become one of the most divisive policy issues of the year.”

“The meeting comes nearly three weeks after the Obama administration proposed slashing how much renewable fuel – mostly corn-based ethanol – needs to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply, bowing to pressure from the petroleum industry.”

“The EPA has warned that the country is approaching a point where the RFS would require the use of more ethanol than can be blended into gasoline at the 10 percent level that dominates the U.S. fueling infrastructure.”

“Refiners have said this so-called “blend wall,” if left in place, would force them to export more fuel or produce less gasoline, leading to shortages and higher prices at the pump.”

“Ethanol supporters and the biodiesel industry have warned that the lower mandate could seriously hurt U.S. corn prices by undercutting demand from refiners, and trigger job losses across rural America.”

  • moderatesunite

    This may or may not be accurate for this particular hearing, but the truth is this issue is not merely petroleum vs. the environment.
    The vast majority of environmentalists I talk to are against the current ethanol standard as well.
    once we have larger quantities of cellulosic, or algae based ethanol then increasing the blend % might make sense but as long as it comes from corn, increasing production any further would require a unrealistic amount of land and resources devoted to a crop that doesnt substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions and could instead be used for food. We should however modify cars and planes so they are capable of taking higher percentages of ethanol for when the better producing technologies which take up less cropland and produce much more net energy(and lower ghg emissions) scale up they have a ready market.

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