The unworkability of the Renewable Fuel Standard, visualized

posted at 6:01 pm on May 25, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

When Congress threw ethanol producers a gigantic bone by expanding the Renewable Fuel Standard through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by annually increasing the amount of ethanol that fuel refiners are required to blend into the nation’s gasoline supply, they blithely made the crucial assumption that Americans’ gasoline consumption would continue to increase indefinitely. Thanks to heightened fuel efficiency and slackened driving habits, however, Americans’ demand for gasoline has actually decreased, meaning that refiners would have to blend gasoline with ethanol well above the E10 level that is considered safe for most of the older cars and trucks on the road today in order to comply properly.

Or, to put it in one succinct visual, the American Interest caught this from the EIA‘s annual energy outlook released earlier this month:

Consumption of biofuels grows in the AEO2014 Reference case falls well short of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA2007) RFS target of 36 billion ethanol gallon equivalents in 2022… Demand for motor gasoline ethanol blends (E10 and E15) falls from 8.7 MMbbl/d in 2012 to 7.9 MMbbl/d in 2022, while total biofuels consumption rises from 14 billion gallons to 16 billion ethanol gallons equivalent over the same period.

Entirely thanks to the federal government’s mandate that people buy their product, the ethanol industry has been raking in record profits recently — which is why they are railing against the Environment Protection Agency’s indication late last year that they might lower 2014′s RFS volumetric standards (a decision on which we’re still waiting despite the already obliterated charade about corn ethanol being the slightest bit “green“). Via the AP:

Just as ethanol producers have been seeing the industry’s most profitable months ever, the federal government is considering whether to lower the amount of the corn-based fuel that must be blended into gasoline. …

EPA officials say fewer gallons of ethanol are necessary because the fuel efficiency of cars improved more quickly than expected, helping lower fuel demand. The U.S. consumed about 134 billion gallons of gasoline last year, about 6 percent less than the record high of about 142 billion gallons consumed in 2007, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EPA, which has received more than 343,000 comments on its proposal, plans to reach a final decision in late June.

Frustrating for the ethanol industry is that the EPA’s recommendation came just as ethanol was hitting its stride in profitability.

Well, cry me a river.


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Ethanol….”greenie” demrat Drano that kills engines.

FlaVet on May 25, 2014 at 6:12 PM

one of the privileges of state-run RINO capitalism is Money and forcing people to buy a product they don’t want.

Socialist run economies always suck too…but the RINOs always say out brand of running an economy is less bad than their brand.

meh.

The sad state is that No One is willing to stand up to the crony/left machine…there is literally too much money at stake.

r keller on May 25, 2014 at 6:14 PM

How about we drill for oil and use our food as, well, food? Nah, makes too much sense.

rbj on May 25, 2014 at 6:14 PM

“Renewable”

Murphy9 on May 25, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Speaking of fuel mileage,,

Boogity, boogity, BOOGITY!

Let’s go racing!

600 miles.

wolly4321 on May 25, 2014 at 6:18 PM

I know this is entirely anecdotal but good luck trying to find those E85 stations here in the South. The Wife travels to multiple States using a GSA Vehicle that is E85 and every time they give her a list of E85 stations where she is going. Without fail about half of those stations listed no longer sell E85.

They usually tell her they didn’t sell enough of it to make enough money to keep carrying it.

Johnnyreb on May 25, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Speaking of fuel mileage,,

Boogity, boogity, BOOGITY!

Let’s go racing!

600 miles.

wolly4321 on May 25, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Live Leaderboard

Newtie and the Beauty on May 25, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Gubmint should NOT be subsidizing such fuelishness as this…

Newtie and the Beauty on May 25, 2014 at 6:30 PM

The EPA and the alcoholic cronies simply will not be satisfied ’til our entire corn crop is blown out our tailpipes. Naw, they won’t be.

vnvet on May 25, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Isn’t this the plot of Interstellar?

Murphy9 on May 25, 2014 at 6:34 PM

You are here: EPA Home
**********************

Transportation & Air Quality
Fuels & Fuel Additives
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
*****************************

EPA is responsible for developing and implementing regulations to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the United States contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program regulations were developed in collaboration with refiners, renewable fuel producers, and many other stakeholders.

The RFS program was created under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005, and established the first renewable fuel volume mandate in the United States. As required under EPAct, the original RFS program (RFS1) required 7.5 billion gallons of renewable- fuel to be blended into gasoline by 2012.

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS program was expanded in several key ways:

*EISA expanded the RFS program to include diesel, in addition to gasoline;
*EISA increased the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022;
*EISA established new categories of renewable fuel, and set separate volume requirements for each one.
*EISA required EPA to apply lifecycle greenhouse gas performance threshold standards to ensure that each category of renewable fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than the petroleum fuel it replaces.

RFS2 lays the foundation for achieving significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the use of renewable fuels, for reducing imported petroleum, and encouraging the development and expansion of our nation’s renewable fuels sector.

For information on 15 % volume of ethanol in gasoline (E15), please visit the E15 webpage. For all 40 CFR Part 79 waiver notices including those related to E15, please visit the Fuels and Fuel Additives Registration Notices page.

For information on new fuel pathway determinations under the RFS (i.e. petitions for new fuel types, production processes, or feedstocks), please visit the Guidance on New Fuel Pathway Approval Process page.

To learn more, click on the tabs above.

If you have questions or request information, please contact the appropriate support or help line found on the Support & Help page.

Please visit EPA’s Transportation and Air Quality web-based repository of mobile source documents, Document Index System (DIS). This searchable repository contains regulations, Federal Register notices, policy letters, and guidance documents.

Please visit our Related Links page for other fuel related information within EPA, other U.S. Agencies, and other fuel related websites.

http://www.epa.gov/OTAQ/fuels/renewablefuels/

canopfor on May 25, 2014 at 6:36 PM

In my area more and more gas stations are both switching to and advertising ethanol free gas. There must be a demand for it.

Viator on May 25, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Speaking of fuel mileage,,

Boogity, boogity, BOOGITY!

Let’s go racing!

600 miles.

wolly4321 on May 25, 2014 at 6:18 PM

wolly4321:)
===========

The Associated Press @AP · 11m

Kurt Busch lands in North Carolina for next race http://apne.ws/1hokIA3

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/kurt-busch-lands-north-carolina-next-race#overlay-context=article/obama-slips-afghanistan-visit-us-troops

canopfor on May 25, 2014 at 6:39 PM

entirely because of a Govt mandate…..but we are supposed to be content with the “mandate” of the US Military in the middle east for the last 50 years to protect Big Oil?……..nobody has yet to die for a gallon of ethanol vrs a towelhead.
****
Ethanol is 100 octane…..Oil is giving us crap gasoline in the 80 range, and then using ethanol to raise the quality to 87 range. And then they push out propaganda that its ethanol creating problems when in fact they are cracking the gas less, giving them more high priced diesel per barrel of crude, pushing out lower quality gasoline ……..follow the money.
***
chew on the Oil propaganda…..don’t just swallow it whole.

sbark on May 25, 2014 at 8:07 PM

There is a searchable study that showed when, in pre-ethanol days, when gas at the pump was 1.50………the true cost to American taxpayors, mainly because of the military in the middle east was 5.00…..All because the Saudies cemented the USA dollar as reserve currency in exchange for military protection. Hey What a deal…..almost as bad as obamacare

sbark on May 25, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Crappy ethanol gas gets me about 15-20% less mpg efficiency! I drive 35k mikes a year.
how can govt demand more ethanol AND higher minimum mpg from the auto industry?
Its like the Democrats want to put an end to the combustible engine…..really!

Privatize It on May 25, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Privatize It on May 25, 2014 at 8:41 PM

1. Progressives hate Western civilization.

2. They hate nuclear power and any other form of energy production that actually works because it keeps Western civilization going.

3. They hate automobiles because they give peasants freedom of movement. In their ideal feudal/socialist society, they will tell you where to live and you will damned well stay there, or they will kill you.

4. They think that only “the enlightened elite’”, like themselves, should have anything.

5. If you are human, they hate you.

6. I shouldn’t have to keep explaining this over and over again. Just listen to their rhetoric on the subject. They are not speaking just for effect. They really believe the neo-Luddite primitivist shit they are spewing.

clear ether

eon

eon on May 25, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Actually, most of the oil companies are simply trying to protect market share by preventing feasible alternatives from becoming widely available. That’s what cartels do. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission is researching this very accusation right now, having received reports that oil companies have begun requiring franchisees to carry two products, regular and premium, at gas stations with only two underground tanks, meaning no room for ethanol. E10 was no threat–they have to add something to their shitty gas to keep knock and smog down anyway. E85 is a threat to their market, and they will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain market share.

E85 is a great fuel, anytime it costs 15% less than gasoline it is smart money to run on it, and that has been the case for at least the past year.

I have run E-85 for hundreds of thousands of miles, ethanol blends upwards of a million and change. Be smart. Demand a choice.

Caustic Conservative on May 25, 2014 at 10:56 PM

<blockquoteentirely because of a Govt mandate…..but we are supposed to be content with the “mandate” of the US Military in the middle east for the last 50 years to protect Big Oil?……..nobody has yet to die for a gallon of ethanol vrs a towelhead.
****
Ethanol is 100 octane…..Oil is giving us crap gasoline in the 80 range, and then using ethanol to raise the quality to 87 range. And then they push out propaganda that its ethanol creating problems when in fact they are cracking the gas less, giving them more high priced diesel per barrel of crude, pushing out lower quality gasoline ……..follow the money.
***
chew on the Oil propaganda…..don’t just swallow it whole.

Where so you get your research? How much energy is used to create the product?

I think you’re talking out of your g-ass..

celt on May 25, 2014 at 10:57 PM

entirely because of a Govt mandate…..but we are supposed to be content with the “mandate” of the US Military in the middle east for the last 50 years to protect Big Oil?……..nobody has yet to die for a gallon of ethanol vrs a towelhead.
****
Ethanol is 100 octane…..Oil is giving us crap gasoline in the 80 range, and then using ethanol to raise the quality to 87 range. And then they push out propaganda that its ethanol creating problems when in fact they are cracking the gas less, giving them more high priced diesel per barrel of crude, pushing out lower quality gasoline ……..follow the money.
***
chew on the Oil propaganda…..don’t just swallow it whole.

Where do you get your research numbers? How much energy is used to create the product?

I think you’re talking out of your g-ass..

celt on May 25, 2014 at 10:59 PM

sbark on May 25, 2014 at 8:07 PM

What are you basing that bullshit on?
Can you share your sources?

Mimzey on May 25, 2014 at 11:02 PM

sbark on May 25, 2014 at 8:10 PM

You’re brainwashed.

Mimzey on May 25, 2014 at 11:04 PM

Caustic Conservative on May 25, 2014 at 10:56 PM
sbark on May 25, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Ethanol is 100 octane…..Oil is giving us crap gasoline in the 80 range, and then using ethanol to raise the quality to 87 range.

Neither of you know anything about petroleum.

CW20 on May 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Ethanol is 100 octane…..Oil is giving us crap gasoline in the 80 range, and then using ethanol to raise the quality to 87 range.

sbark on May 25, 2014 at 8:07 PM

You’re mistaking an octane rating as being a measure of fuel energy content. The only thing an octane rating measures is a fuel’s tendency to burn in a controlled manner without exploding. The higher the number, the less likely for the fuel to explosively combust (knock).

If you mix ethanol with gasoline, the heat of the combustion temperature goes up (octane) but the energy content per volume goes down. Ethanol has a much lower energy content than gasoline. E85 gas, for example, has about 72% of the energy content of unleaded, ethanol-free gasoline.

DarthBrooks on May 26, 2014 at 12:45 AM

Neither of you know anything about petroleum.

CW20 on May 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM

People who suggest ethanol E10 is harmful to engines, or that it takes more energy to produce than it outputs know nothing about ethanol.

sbark is correct that subgrade gas is being blended for use at the pump. Regular gas is 87 octane. If you see 87 octane ethanol blends, that’s because they are bringing it up to grade using the ethanol.

Ethanol does have a lower energy content, but this can be largely compensated for by maximizing higher compression ratios in the cylinder, making the E85 fuel much more efficient. (100% ethanol is what Indy racing cars have run on, btw.) Ford’s GDTI project is a huge step in this direction for the next generation of ecoBoost engines.

Caustic Conservative on May 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

EPA officials say fewer gallons of ethanol are necessary because the fuel efficiency of cars improved more quickly than expected, helping lower fuel demand. The U.S. consumed about 134 billion gallons of gasoline last year, about 6 percent less than the record high of about 142 billion gallons consumed in 2007, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Gee, that couldn’t have anything to do with the millions of Americans who no longer have jobs to commute to, and/or can’t afford to drive as much as they used to…could it now?

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 26, 2014 at 10:36 AM

I will consider ethanol to be “renewable” when they can produce ethanol using ethanol as their energy source, and have some left over at the end of the process. As it is, it takes more energy to make a gallon of ethanol from corn than is contained in a gallon of ethanol.

iurockhead on May 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Any time I hear someone discussing energy or power generation and they drop the word RENEWABLE in a statement related to ENERGY, I have no doubt their opinions on the subject are worthless. When it is uttered by some who is supposedly an engineeer … I just sigh and roll my eyes quietly thinking, guess they slept thru Thermodyanamics, or they didn’t understand it.
But it you don’t know and apply thermo you don’t know shiite, jack.

Missilengr on May 26, 2014 at 1:43 PM

sbark on May 25, 2014 at 8:07 PM
The 100 octane rating is based on the gasoline component octane which has a reference value of 100.
BTW, ethanol produces 2.14 times the ozone of gasoline.
Link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol

mad scientist on May 26, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Not just produce. Add in the energy required to supply feedstocks and distribute the finished product. These costs are huge – which is why plants are spread throughout the country and operating at 1/3 capacity.

blink on May 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM

We can do that if you wish, but a true apples to apples comparison of fuels would require one to also consider the environmental, military, economic, and other costs directly related to oil use as well. Which is what sbark was referring to above.

Current generation ethanol plants output around 67% more in energy than they use, and improvements are being made all the time. Further, the use of surplus corn has dramatically reduced federal spending on agricultural supply management programs for corn. The US government spends somewhere around $2 billion annually in credits to oil companies for retailing it, and in return red state incomes are up, jobs have been added, and communities thrive. On balance, the last year before the ethanol boom, 2005, the government spent just under $5 billion ($6.12 billion in today’s dollars) on marketing loans, loan deficiency payments, and counter cyclical payments in its ham fisted attempt to adjust the market to oversupply. Farm investment slowed to a crawl. Fact is, ethanol is a much more efficient market regulator for an ag commodity than any government program ever was.

Face it. Your reactions are more knee-jerk than anything on this subject.

Caustic Conservative on May 26, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Would someone please teach Erika how to write?

It’s not that I disagree with her. She just needs an intense effective writing class. Her prose in impenetrable.

chuck_pundit on May 26, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Would someone please teach Erika how to write?

It’s not that I disagree with her. She just needs an intense effective writing class. Her prose in impenetrable.

chuck_pundit on May 26, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Awwww yeah!

Murphy9 on May 26, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Ford’s GDTI project is a huge step in this direction for the next generation of ecoBoost engines.

Caustic Conservative on May 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

What do you mean next generation of EcoBoost engines? Do you know what GDTi stands for?

Gasoline Turbocharged Direct injection.

ALL EcoBoost engines do this. They’re direct injected, uses a turbocharger (as its powered by the exaust), and uses gasoline.

Please stop while you’re ahead.

Lay-Z on May 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM