E85 Boondoggle Of The Day: Mandatory Flexibility

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
e85 boondoggle of the day mandatory flexibility

Green Car Congress reports that an “Open Fuel Standards Act” has been introduced which would require half of all light duty vehicles sold in the US to be flex-fuel capable. The legislation would ramp up requirements to mandate 80 percent flex-fuel capability by 2015. Since ethanol has been running into trouble of late, the industry’s plan now centers on forcing OEMs to bring flex-fuel capability across their lineups, which supporters say will drive greater availability of E85 pumps. The plan would also enable the proliferation of mid-range ethanol blends like E20 and E30, since E85-capable flex-fuel vehicles would also be able to run on the intermediate blends that the ethanol industry so desperately wants to become mainstream. The only waivers for this mandate would be for OEMs who can prove that ethanol fuels prevent plug-in hybrids and other alt-energy vehicles to flunk state emission standards. Meanwhile, as rules are being written for the Renewable Fuel Standard, and a group of Senators are moving to prevent the use of indirect land use change (ILUC) to calculate the total GHG output of biofuels.

The law mandates measurement of “direct emissions and significant indirect emissions such as significant emissions from land use changes, as determined by the Administrator.” And though there are many complexities in attempting to calculate the full impact of biofuels, Senators don’t see this as a challenge to be undertaken, but a baby to be thrown out with the bathwater. The senators “urge EPA to refrain from including any calculations of the ILUC components in determining life-cycle GHG emissions for biofuels at this time. The premature publication and use of inaccurate or incomplete data could compromise the ability to formulate a sound approach to implementing this life cycle GHG emissions requirement in the future. And the resultant rulemaking confusion could seriously harm our US biofuels growth strategy by introducing uncertainty and discouraging future investments.” Oh yeah, and we would have to find new campaign contributors too.

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  • John Horner John Horner on Mar 20, 2009

    "Don’t use my tax money to pay for the research or infrastructure of E85. Look for venture capital. If no one is interested, probably it’s a bad idea. If someone invested and earned big, good for him." You do know that the Internet and GPS technology both started as government funded projects, yes? To this day, GPS receivers rely on signals provided gratis by the US government's network of GPS satellites.

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Mar 20, 2009
    You do know that the Internet and GPS technology both started as government funded projects, yes? To this day, GPS receivers rely on signals provided gratis by the US government’s network of GPS satellites. You do know that both of those gov't funded projects started out as defense projects, don't you? Defense is a constitutionally mandated obligation of the federal government. Providing a subsidy for corn growers is not. Actually, the GPS system shows the basic goodness of the American people. We paid to develop a military technology that we decided was too valuable to mankind to use only as a weapon so we make it available, free of charge, to the entire world. Can you think of another country that has done likewise with its own proprietary military equipment? True, it could be argued that since armed forces need fuel (see: Imperial Japan's struggle to provide their fleet with fuel and Nazi Germany's coal>liquid fuel efforts), research on alcohol fuels could be done under DOD funding. Likewise with infrastructure, as was done with the Interstate highway system when the Eisenhower administration sold the highway system as vital to the nation's defense (the curves on the Interstates are designed to allow a semi-tractor pulling an ICBM to travel 80 mph). Still, wsn's point is valid: if a technology is commercially promising it should be able to find venture funding. GPS and the Interstate highways system were so expensive to implement, with little chance of immediate profitability, that only government could have funded them at the time.
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.
  • Dartdude Lorenzo, the reason for low manual transmission here is that most dealers won't stock them. I wanted a 2012 Kia Koup with manual tranny it was available, but no dealers ordered any from the factory hence there was none available. Go on any car manufacture's web site and price and build and build your model and you would be lucky if the model existed and was available.
  • The Oracle Good news is that based on the model years many of these have already been junked or experienced terminal engine failure.
  • Lou_BC I'm confused, isn't a Prologue a preview? This would be a preview of a preview.