Never let it be said that TTAC doesn’t kick a bad idea when it’s down. (It’s the best way to make sure it stays down.) Obviously, it’s no secret that myself and several members of TTAC’s crack (smoking) freelance team consider E85 the biggest boondoggle outside of the Motown meltdown boondoggle. Corn juice for fuel is a fundamentally flawed concept on environmental, energy, practical and even a geo-political basis. But even as the U.S. ethanol customers line-up none deep for their chance to prove that “no one ever died defending a corn field,” even as the ethanol industry continues to block cheap E85 imports from Brazil, even as the major players suck-up to Uncle Sugar to secure a $1b bailout (no really) to stay alive in a business where they already enjoy a .50 a gallon “blender’s credit” and a federal requirement for someone somewhere to use the stuff (a.k.a. the 36b gallon by 2020 Renewable Fuels Standard), they’re shifted gears to open a second front in their war against common sense. AG Week reports that the push for a federal mandate to raise the ethanol content in regular gas from E10 to E15 (and beyond) continues apace.
Yes, the ethanol industry is crying that they’re up against the “blend wall” (MFer).
“Most notable of those obstacles is an EPA regulation stating that gasoline intended for use by nonflex-fuel vehicles cannot be blended with more than 10 percent ethanol. By not allowing greater percentages of ethanol to be blended with gasoline, more ethanol will be produced than can legally be distributed, and therefore consumed, creating what has been termed a “blend wall.” Hitting this blend wall would effectively bring industry growth to a standstill and significantly undermine the progress we have made in establishing renewable biofuels as a critical component in our country’s diverse energy portfolio. Additionally, the blend wall’s effect on the ethanol industry would adversely impact efforts to develop promising advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel.”
So no cellulosic unless you buy our GD E85? Bummer. Now, about that “other” bailout…
“Many objections have been raised in response to calls for increasing the amount of ethanol than can be blended with gasoline, many coming from the U.S. automobile industry. However, at a time when the U.S. auto industry is requesting federal assistance from Congress, I think any aid should not only contain significant taxpayer protections, but also require serious and bold steps on behalf of the automakers to help our country move toward greater energy independence.
“That’s why I recently wrote Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank requesting that to access federal financing, U.S. automakers should: Redouble their commitment to meet or exceed fuel economy standards set for them by Congress; agree not to place unfounded warranty objections in the way of the widespread adoption of mid-range ethanol blends such as E15 for use in standard vehicles; and transform their aspirational goal for the production of flex-fuel vehicles — 50 percent of production by 2012 — to a hard and enforceable goal of reaching that level by 2012 or earlier.”
What happened to the days when companies made money by offering better products and services?