Posted in: Commentary,
by Patrick DeHaan on Jun 22, 2010 12:49 PM
Several months ago, I wrote about the possibility of increased ethanol content in gasoline you pump. Here's an update on where we stand in regards to that.
The EPA recently delayed a decision on allowing higher amounts of ethanol to be pumped. The corn and renewable energy lobby obviously was disappointed, but given the tremendous changes that would take place, I think the EPA and DOE are treading lightly. Initially, the RFA (Renewable Fuel Association) had been seeking a waiver to allow gasoline stations to blend up to 15% ethanol into gasoline sold. Current laws cap the amount of ethanol content in each gallon to no more than 10%. Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline and results in lower fuel economy.
The RFA realized that a waiver or approval for E15 would take time, so they are now pushing for a temporary E12 waiver. The EPA has delayed a decision on E12 as well as it awaits test results from the Department of Energy (DOE).
There are multiple tests going on for increased ethanol content, with the EPA looking at E15 for use in vehicles 2007 and newer. The RFA, which lobbies hard for increased use of ethanol, wanted to see E15 for vehicles for 2001 and newer vehicles.
No matter what happens, its good to see that regulators aren't being bullied by corn and pro-ethanol lobbyists. Even if their waiver is approved and E15 is allowed, its still up to motorists and station owners whether they want to add separate fueling storage since it seems an increase in ethanol content would only be for vehicles of a certain age or newer.
I'm pretty sick of ethanol myself, the decrease in mileage, the high costs of planting corn, refining, and using it in gasoline. While I know that fossil fuels aren't the answer for future generations, I think ethanol is just as big of mistake.