For First Time, E.P.A. Proposes Cutting Renewable Fuel Standards' 2014 Ethanol Requirement for Gasoline Blends

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff

While ethanol producers have been lobbying to increase the blend of that alcohol in standard gasoline to 15%, many in the auto industry have opposed that increase, saying that it could damage cars. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has, for the first time, proposed reducing the ethanol requirement in the nation’s fuel supply. Actually, what they are proposing is a smaller increase in the overall use of ethanol, which means that the national standard may not be raised to E15.

Enough ethanol is being produced to meet the EPA’s current requirements. Most of that is used to make E10, a 10% ethanol / 90% gasoline mix, and E85, which is 85% ethanol. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and the Renewable Fuels Standard mandate increasing the amount of ethanol used in the national fuel supply, but the EPA is facing what has been called the “blend wall”. If any more alcohol is mixed into regular gas it will push the overall blend above 10%, which could create problems with the fuel systems of cars.

The requirements project a use of 15-15.52 billion gallons of ethanol and the EPA is recommending that refiners and blenders use a total of 15.21 billion gallons, within the lower range of the projections.

Says the EPA:

[The] EPA is proposing to adjust the applicable volumes of advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel to address projected availability of qualifying renewable fuels and limitations in the volume of ethanol that can be consumed in gasoline given practical constraints on the supply of higher ethanol blends to the vehicles that can use them and other limits on ethanol blend levels in gasoline.

The move was praised by the oil industry and criticized by ethanol makers and farmers.

Biofuel supporters were even more disappointed than those backing corn ethanol, with the EPA proposing to significantly reduce the cellulosic biofuel standard. Producers haven’t been able to make anywhere near the original standards.

The EPA said, “Based on an assessment of the available volumes of cellulosic biofuels, EPA is proposing to set the cellulosic biofuel standard at 17 million gallons, significantly lower than CAA target of 1.75 billion gallons ( PDF).”

These are proposed changes in the rules. There will be a period for public comment followed by hearings before any of the proposals are given the force of law.

TTAC Staff
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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 18, 2013

    I think some of you guys miss the real purpose of the corn subsidies. Less about supporting the farmers and more of a corporate subsidy. Anyone that is familiar with farming knows that corn is grown mainly using Monsanto seed and Roundup. Many farmers use no till method for planting crops such as corn. Before a field is planted the fields are sprayed with Roundup and then planted with Monsanto's genetically engineered corn seed which is not effected by Roundup. No till methods not only help with soil erosion but save fuel by not having to till the fields. Sure the farmers get subsidies, good for candidates running for office trying to get the farm vote (great for Presidential Primaries in farm states such as Iowa). Corn is not even that good for you to eat especially as a sugar substitute.

  • 50merc 50merc on Nov 18, 2013

    Land Ark, I can understand your ambivalence about the EPA, it being your wife's employer, but all I can say is I hope she can soon find employment with something other than the evil, fanatical EPA. An outfit with any integrity would be asking Congress to drop the insane ethanol mandate. Note that the EPA's announcement is merely a reduction in GROWTH of ethanol use. Here in Oklahoma it's easy to find pure gas--the stations proclaim they have the good stuff--and we don't have to buy premium, either. Maybe the EPA has overlooked we rubes in flyover country. I pray that we can continue to find non-adulterated gasoline.

  • Funky D A few from my road trip playlist: Eddie Rabbitt - Drivin' My Life AwayAmerica - Ventura Highway---Herb Alpert - Route 101Jerry Reed - East Bown and DownEddie Money - Shakin'Lindey Buckingham - Holiday RoadWar - Low RiderTears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Not a driving song per se, but if you've seen the video, you'll get it)Wang Chung - Wait (Gotta see the end credits of "To Live and Die in LA", for this one)
  • Ronin Or can sedans be saved from themselves? Modern sedans have very low entry and seating, and unnecessarily downward sloping rear roofs. This may have been a sleek design center 25 years ago, but it's nice to have an alternative to SUVs for the olds (ie, anyone over 30).
  • Bd2 The Hyundai Sonota is the best sedan on the market right now.
  • Kcflyer hang in there Lexus. Keep making the IS with the V8 and sooner or later I will buy a new one :)
  • 1995 SC I'll take Mystichrome. And a different car
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