For First Time, E.P.A. Proposes Reducing Ethanol Requirement for Gas Mix


NY Times:

For First Time, E.P.A. Proposes Reducing Ethanol Requirement for Gas Mix

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed reducing the amount of ethanol that is required to be mixed with the gasoline supply, the first time it has taken steps to slow down the drive to replace fossil fuels with renewable forms of energy. The move was expected, but it drew bitter complaints from advocates of ethanol, including some environmentalists, who see the corn-based fuel blend as a weapon to fight climate change. It was also unwelcome news to farmers, who noted that the decision came at a time when a record corn crop is expected, and the price of a bushel has fallen almost to the cost of production.

“We’re all just sort of scratching our heads here today and wondering why this administration is telling us to burn less of a clean-burning American fuel,” said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association.
Farmers, ethanol producers and high-tech companies trying to make renewable fuels from wastes have all invested heavily in the ethanol industry, with an expectation of a heavy demand, advocates said.
But the E.P.A. said that a big part of the problem was that automobile fuel systems and service stations were not set up to absorb more than about 10 percent ethanol. Most cars on the road, according to the automakers, and most fuel pumps, according to service station groups, are limited to the current mixture, called E10, and there has been little demand by consumers for more.

Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, said that the ethanol interests were relying on “a continual government program that is an anachronism in 2013, that is seriously flawed, that puts consumers at risk, that consumers don’t want.”
The timeline for phasing in enormous volumes of renewable fuel is laid out in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, but the schedule has turned out to be impractical, forcing year-by-year adjustments. In the years since the law was passed, imports of oil have declined sharply and domestic production has risen.

About time.


One guesses that the Obama administration is coming to the realization that imposing the 2014 standards, combined with Obamacare, are likely to tank the economy (no pun intended)

Shows a person, too, how little this administration really believes in manmade global warming.


+1. Burning a food grain in our vehicle engines is one of the dumbest ideas to come down the pike in a long time. Right up there with Obamacare.


I wish the ethanol requirement would be reduced to zero. Gasoline is just a better fuel than ethanol, and yields better mileage. Why convert food for humans (corn) into fuel for cars?


A lot of corn (now sorghum too, which qualifies for ethanol programs) isn’t really human consumable, or is only marginally so. But both are used for animal feed, particularly poultry and hogs. For poultry in particular, grain is the biggest single cost of production.

Cattle get it or grain byproducts for the most part, but don’t really need it.


Doing my Mr Rogers impression, “Can you say ‘Iowa caucuses’ boys and girls?”


Hey all, the ethanol mandate was all Congress. EPA hasn’t increased the ethanol levels required in gasoline as much as the law intended, based on market forces. The ethanol industry is hopping mad about it, and claims the agency is preventing additional sales of their product.


That tells me its not really about whats best for the environment, our wallet or the economy in general, its really about ensuring certain industries are able to continue to rake in the cash.

If we keep going with this mindset, we will still be driving internal combustion engine cars 100 yrs from now!

Its a sad day when energy technology is suppressed for the sake of keeping dying industries afloat.


Other than the previous two postings, this thread is over 3 years old. Nevertheless I will agree with you that the ethanol requirements are a bad idea. Since most of the ethanol comes from corn that is grown with petrol-based fertilizers, you are still burning fossil fuels when you burn ethanol. Furthermore, diverting corn production for ethanol deprives us of the more important food uses of corn.

Now if ethanol could be produced from some waste product or weed crop that does not use petrol-based fertilizers, that might be a winner.


Possibly the OP is being dishonest? Which means the Obama administration and not the Trump administration!


It is my understanding that ethanol corn is not the same stuff as the corn they use to make, say, corn flakes, but is an inferior type of corn. Could be wrong, but that’s what I have read before.

But the corn used in ethanol production does go into food products, or at least the non-starch part of it does, and in huge quantities. Alcohol production uses the starch in corn, but leaves everything else. The resulting product is sometimes referred to as “distillers’ grain”. It’s fed to cattle and other livestock. Corn is very low in protein, but the distilling process makes the distillers’ grain high in protein by removing the starch.

Probably if the ethanol program was terminated, the corn would simply be used to feed livestock, but it would also require protein supplementation. That’s not too easy, because the usual ingredient to boost protein is also either other grain or soybeans. Virtually the whole U.S. soybean crop goes to China nowadays, and it’s not a very elastic agricultural product.

So, in a way, the corn ethanol program is an indirect subsidy of the meat industry, and not just beef. Distillers’ grain is also used in hog and poultry feed.

Now, if termination of the ethanol program resulted in lower production of low quality corn, I suspect the first meat product hit with higher costs would be the poultry industry. It uses a lot of corn. Beef and pork don’t really require corn, but high-quantity, high-quality poultry production absolutely does.


I’ll settle for a gradual phase out while farmers adapt.

closed #13

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