EPA wants to mandate even higher Ethanol Mix

The government thinking of raising the ethanol blend to 15% to bail out farmers and the biofuel business:

The agency Thursday said it is seeking comment on whether to allow ordinary gasoline to consist of as much as 15% ethanol, an additive that has been heavily promoted by farm states. For decades, the EPA has allowed gasoline to include up to 10% ethanol.

The EPA's move came in response to a petition filed last month by the trade group Growth Energy to allow motor fuel ethanol blends of as much as 15%, citing an Energy Department study that found "no operability or driveability issues" with blends as high as 20% ethanol.

Most car warranties, however, have followed the 10% standard, which means consumers who use blends with greater than 10% ethanol could get stuck paying the bills if there's damage to fuel lines or other components unless auto makers agree to shoulder the costs.

Auto makers offer so-called flex-fuel vehicles designed to accept up to 85% ethanol fuels. But many current and older model cars aren't designed for ethanol concentrations above 10%.

Alan Adler, a spokesman for General Motors Corp., said if the EPA allows higher ethanol blends "we want to be sure that we're not on the hook for vehicles" that end up having problems with higher blends. . . . . .

Currently nearly a quarter of all corn produced in the U.S. is used to make ethanol. That's up from about 12% in 2004. A higher blend ratio would help support corn prices. . . . .

Of course, there are already large subsidies for these fuel blends.

Back in 2005, Congress passed a highway bill. In its wisdom, it created a subsidy that gave some entities a 50-cents-a-gallon tax credit for blending "alternative" fuels with traditional fossil fuels. The law restricted which businesses could apply and limited the credit to use of fuel in motor vehicles.

Not long after, some members of Congress got to wondering if they couldn't tweak this credit in a way that would benefit specific home-state industries. In 2007, Congress expanded the types of alternative fuels that counted for the credit, while also allowing "non-mobile" entities to apply. This meant that Alaskan fish-processing facilities, for instance, which run their boilers off fish oil, might now also claim the credit. . . .

Of course, wouldn't you know that "California regulators may rule that the biofuel is no better--and might be worse--than petroleum" for producing greenhouse gases. I am may agree that corn ethanol increases carbon dioxide, though I am not sure that I agree with their reasons and I definitely am not concerned by this increase.

Thanks very much to AJ Troglio for this second link.

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Blogger Harry Schell said...

It isn't quite so simple, for older vehicles have fuel system components which may be attacked by the higher ethanol concentration, requiring expensive repairs, possibly multiple times if replacement components are not redesigned to resist the higher ethanol concentration.

And at that, the Antarctic ice is thickening, and the globe contiues to cool. The science is against AGW but the seizure of power over the economies and the possibility for tax collections to increase the size of the government playpen is too much.

We are getting screwed.

4/19/2009 11:36 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Why does unsubstantiated rhetoric overcome common sense and economics?

Fact: Ethanol does not have the energy density of gasoline. Or to put it another way, it will cost more per mile to travel.

Fact: It takes more energy to produce ethanol than what we can derive from ethanol. A negative return, if you will.

Fact: Shifting farm production from food to fuel will result in higher food costs and food shortages.

Mr. Schell also made a very valid point. Repair/conversion costs, and this at a time when most cannot get an auto loan, much less have the money to spend for said repairs/conversions whilst being taxed at a much higher rate.

If the offals who think they run the show keep ignoring the people, the next 'Tea Party' may become much worse...

4/19/2009 2:43 PM  

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