Posts Tagged ‘rfs mandate’


Finally, Will Sanity Prevail? … NOT!

January 22, 2012

A state has finally introduced a state statute that would REQUIRE the sale of ethanol free premium unleaded gasoline at all retail outlets.

Mississippi finally figured out that the only way to protect their marine industry, public safety, aviation and small engine industries is to require, by law, ethanol free premium be available universally. Nothing short of this will work. E10 is spreading everywhere and the ethanol quotas in EISA 2007 will swamp the gasoline pool of the entire country by the end of the year.

Of course not, the bill died in committee on 03/06.


2011 Ends – No E15, 2012 Begins And We Are Hitting The Blending Wall

January 2, 2012

As we say goodbye to 2011 it is obvious that E15 has done nothing to prevent the blending wall.  Heck, “E15 is not registered with  EPA” so it cannot be sold yet, and none of the many states, including California that do not allow E15 to be sold for use in non flex-fuel vehicles, have changed their laws.

As we start 2012, the complete idiocy of the federal RFS mandate of EISA 2007 gets more absurd every day.

Actually the EIA suspects that we are hitting the blending wall right now, today, as outlined here.

The most absurd and outrageous result of the federal RFS mandate is that the price of your gasoline is rising because the gasoline producers must pay for “waiver credits” for cellulosic ethanol that is mandated but cannot be produced as pointed out by this article and this article.  What is ironic is that if 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol could be produced this year, as mandated by EISA 2007, at any price, say $100 / gallon, the gasoline producers would have to buy it and blend it.

So here is the looming debacle for the federal RFS mandate.  We will hit the blending wall this year and by the end of the year there will be hundreds of millions of gallons of ethanol with no gasoline to put it in, and next year there will be billions of gallons of ethanol with nowhere to blend it and on and on until 2022 when there will be tens of billions of gallons of ethanol with nowhere to put it.  Are the gasoline producers going to have to pay for “waiver credits” for all of that unusable ethanol?

So tell me again how ethanol is reducing our dependence on foreign oil and “reducing the cost of gasoline” as we were promised here in Oregon when the mandatory E10 law was being debated in the Oregon legislature.


Question for Ethanol Lobby: “How’s that E15 working out for you?”

October 2, 2011

So where are the E15 pumps?

It has been almost a year since the initial approval of a waiver for the use of E15 in non flex-fuel vehicles and about nine months since the waiver approval for cars going back to the 2001 model year.  So where is the E15?

Here is one recent summary of the status of E15 for non flex-fuel vehicles:

Particular attention should be paid to the statement in the article that the EPA has not “registered” E15 as a legal fuel,

Further, what is odd is what is not said in the article about the lawsuits concerning the E15 waiver.

There have been at least three lawsuits against the EPA over the legality of the bifurcated waiver:

One of the ironies is that just creating the label for gas pumps took until June, and no E15 could be pumped until the label was approved, and now there is a lawsuit over the label:

I know of no resolutions for any of these lawsuits.

The other huge impediment to E15, which is casually mentioned in the summary, is that many states have laws prohibiting the sale of ethanol blends higher than 10% in non flex-fuel vehicles and California is one of them, the largest gasoline market in the U.S.  My state of Oregon also has a statute that limits the sale of ethanol blended gasoline to 10% for non flex-fuel cars and our legislative session for the year is over and although several bills were introduced to repeal our mandatory E10 law which is widely despised, not one of them would have changed the statute that limits non flex-fuel vehicles to E10, in fact our legislators don’t have a clue about the E15 waiver.  Apparently the ethanol lobby doesn’t care that E15 can’t be sold in many states … or they just don’t know that.

As I have said before, if you were waiting with baited breath for E15 to show up for use in your 2001 or newer vehicle, none of them warrantied for said fuel nor having a fuel map for the computerized fuel injection system, exhale now before you cause permanent brain damage from lack of oxygen.  Next year we will hit the blend wall and E15 will do nothing to avert it.  And then I wonder what the gasoline producers will do with all of the ethanol they will be swimming in with nowhere to put it.   (This is prophetic … just in:  the blending wall just keeps getting closer.)


New Hampshire May Ban Corn Ethanol Blending

April 1, 2011

The state of New Hampshire may have come to its senses and realized that it has the power to prohibit the blending of ethanol in gasoline. After all, five states have active mandatory E10 laws, so if a state can legally mandate ethanol in all gasoline sold in the state, a state surely has the right to prohibit ethanol blending in all gasoline sold in the state. There is NO mandatory federal E10 law.

Of course the ethanol lobby is not happy about this turn of events.  Bob Dineen, president and chief executive officer of RFA, wrote a letter to New Hampshire lawmakers calling for the rejection of HB 374.  He made the following ludicrous and untrue statement:

Finally, there are serious questions relating to the legal authority of the state to undermine federal renewable energy policy and the Clean Air Act.”

This is the normal argument that ethanol and gasoline producer lobbyists make at public hearings when a state wants to prohibit the blending of ethanol in gasoline to protect their marine, aviation, off road recreational vehicle and public safety industries. They can repeat it over and over but it isn’t true. There is no mandatory federal E10 law, so banning ethanol blending in gasoline does not “… undermine federal renewable energy policy …”.

All that the legislators at the state public committee hearings need ask is, “What is the definition of Renewable Fuel?” and “Show me a federal statute that defines E10 as Renewable Fuel and mandates it as such.”  The fact is that Renewable Fuel is defined in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard section of H.R. 6 (2007), aka the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, or EISA 2007 (Section 201 – 210, pg. 28 – 41) as E85. Read the act. E10 is never mentioned in EISA 2007, because E10 is gasoline made to ASTM D4814 laced with ethanol, which is legal for use as an oxygenate additive.  The EPA and ASTM recognize E10 as gasoline. It is NOT Renewable Fuel. E85, or Fuel Ethanol, is made to ASTM D5798 and is defined in the federal RFS as Renewable Fuel. The only way a state could undermine federal renewable energy policy would be to ban the sale of E85. Ask the lobbyists to cite federal statute that defines Renewable Fuel as E10.

As to whether prohibiting the blending of ethanol in gasoline is undermining the Clean Air Act in New Hampshire, the ethanol lobby doesn’t have a leg to stand on, because the state of New Hampshire has no EPA mandate to oxygenate gasoline to meet air quality.

Finally, the argument that ethanol costs less than gasoline is specious.  There have been two long periods since EISA 2007 went into effect in January, 2008 that ethanol has been more expensive than gasoline, and has certainly directly increased the price of gasoline. The other problem is that ethanol has less energy than gasoline so cars buy fuel more often and if anecdotal evidence here in Oregon, a mandatory E10 state, is any indication, the mileage decrease for a large number of cars indicates that we are burning more gasoline, even with 10% of it replaced by ethanol, than we were before the law went into effect. The problem is that we have no way of knowing because nobody has ever done a large scale, statistically significant, independent scientific study of mileage before and after a mandatory E10 law. But one thing we do know is that no cars built before 2007 had a fuel map that knew what E10 was and how to adjust to it, other than dumping more gas into the cylinder until the oxygen sensor settles down … if it ever does. Who really knows since all of that technology is proprietary.

The fact of the matter is that the RFS section of EISA 2007 was supposed to increase the production, distribution and use of E85 through copious amounts of corporate welfare that was built into the act. However, because of the unintended consequences of the economic melt down and the fact nobody wants to buy a more expensive “Flex-Fuel” vehicle which gets terrible mileage on almost impossible to find E85, E10 is now spreading throughout the entire gasoline pool in the U.S. because of the hard coded ethanol quota in the act. However, there is no federal legal requirement that states must just stand by and watch these unintended consequences further harm their marine, aviation, off road recreational vehicle and public safety industries.

Update:  The New Hampshire senate killed this bill … of course.


Is EPA Administrator Jackson Waiting For Someone To Die?

February 15, 2011

I sent the following email to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson:

Dear Administrator Jackson:

The following post was left on the web site in the Comments section:

“Recently our fire dept. was responding to a brush fire where the fire was about the get into a barn.  Our brush truck has a gasoline powered engine (which is almost new) in which we had a difficult time cranking to extinguish the fire.  Upon our investigation after the fire we found the cause of failure of the pump operating was due to ethanol gas.  The repair agency advised that we should not use ethanol gas on small engines due to this problem and that we should not store ethanol gas no more than 2 weeks.  Unfortunately we must store some gas for emergencies on fire apparatus for calls.  At some times it can be stored for quite some time before we use it.  How are fire dept’s suppose to operate equipment properly and store gas for emergencies with this causing engine problems?  Hope you don’t need to depend on this to save your life, the engine may not start???????  -Tony Collins, Advance, NC  (February 9, 2011)”

You can see it for yourself here:, use the View all comments button to get to this earlier comment.

Are you going to wait until someone dies when portable equipment won’t start or quits during an emergency because of the unintended consequences of the RFS mandate in EISA 2007 that are turning all of the gasoline in the U.S. to E10?  As it stands now first responders and emergency crews cannot get ethanol free gasoline in California and most of the Northeast.  It is rapidly disappearing in the Northwest too, and it is apparently a serious problem in North Carolina.  I urge you to prohibit the blending of ethanol in all premium unleaded gasoline sold in the U.S., as you were requested by numerous organizations in the E15 comments, before someone is killed.

Regards — Dean Billing / Sisters, OR

I would urge others in the Public Safety field to let Administrator Jackson know if you have concerns about how the ethanol mandate is affecting your portable tools and equipment … before it is too late.  You can email her at

Update 03/30/2011: Apparently the EPA is waiting for someone to die, as the following reply illustrates:

Dear Mr. Billing:

Thank you for your February 15, 2011 email to Administrator Jackson concerning the use of ethanol in gasoline and problems with small, non-road engines in emergency equipment. …

We are aware that some small, non-road engines are having problems with gasoline that contains 10 percent ethanol (E10). Furthermore, we have found that gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) is not suitable for such engines.  As we transition to E10 and E15 we are monitoring the situation.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Karl J. Simon, Director
Compliance and Innovative Strategies Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality

So there you have it in black and white, “… we are monitoring the situation.

Translation from bureaucratese, “Yes, we are waiting for someone to die and if there is a public outcry, we will react.”


All Of A Sudden The EPA Administrator Is Worried About “Unintended Consequences”

February 13, 2011

Say what? The EPA Administrator is worried about the unintended consequences in a new greenhouse gas bill.

“EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said during her testimony before the subcommittee Wednesday that there could be unintended consequences from the legislation.”

Who is the Administrator kidding?  The federal RFS mandate in EISA 2007 has caused humongous unintended consequences, including massive economic dislocation and property damage in the marine, aviation, antique and classic car, motorcycle, and small engine industry which will undoubtedly lead to death in the public safety sector that relies on portable tools.

The federal RFS mandate was supposed to spur the production and distribution of E85 and manufacturing of flex-fuel vehicles which are the only kind of vehicles that can use E85.  E85 is the ONLY Renewable Fuel mentioned in the act.  E10 is NEVER mentioned in the act.  E10 IS NOT Renewable Fuel as recognized by ASTM, it is gasoline laced with ethanol.  There is only one place in the act that other than E85 is mentioned, Section 244 (a), “DEFINITION OF RENEWABLE FUEL BLEND.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘‘renewable fuel blend’’ means a gasoline blend that contains not less than 11 percent, and not more than 85 percent, renewable fuel …”.  The objective of of that section of the act, and other similar sections, is clearly to shower corporate welfare on E85.

EISA 2007 IS NOT A MANDATORY E10 LAW, yet by the end of this year or early next year all of the gasoline sold in the country will be E10 because of the draconian ethanol production quotas cast in stone in the act.  Talk about unintended consequences.

The only way to avoid further unintended consequences of the federal RFS mandate is to prohibit the blending of ethanol in all premium unleaded gasoline in the U.S. or outright repeal of the RFS section of EISA 2007.  So what about it Ms. Jackson?  Are you really interested in avoiding truly huge unintended consequences?



February 7, 2011

I’ll bet you are waiting with baited breath for E15 to show up at your corner service station.  So where is it?  The EPA has granted the ethanol lobby’s waiver to allow E15 to be put in cars and light trucks made from 2001 on, which apparently represents about 2/3 of all vehicles on the road.

Could the delay possible stem from three major lawsuits against the EPA for granting a waiver that apparently they don’t have the legal authority to grant?  (NPRA lawsuit here, API lawsuit here and NMMA/auto mfg. lawsuit here)

Or could the delay possibly be that there is no ASTM specification for E15 and many states will not allow the sale of motor fuel without ASTM specification.

Or could the delay be that 21 states have statutes that only allow blending up to E10 to be sold for non flex-fuel vehicles in those state, including California which is the largest gasoline market in the nation.  These laws will have to be changed before E15 can be put into other than a flex-fuel vehicle.

Or maybe it is because the waiver is NOT MANDATORY, it is only voluntary, and the gasoline producers and service station associations said quite clearly in their E15 waiver remarks that unless they were granted immunity from damage claims for E15, they wouldn’t distribute it.

Or possibly it is because of the most ironic reason of all, there are a number of current EPA regulations that are going to have to be changed.

As I have pointed out before, the clock is ticking.  We will reach the blending wall by early next year, at the latest, and E15 was supposed to delay the blending wall.  But all of the reasons cited above will probably take years to sort out.  So if you were really counting on putting E15 into your new car that has no warranty for it, and paying more for less mileage, it would be better to exhale now.



October 13, 2010

So the EPA has spoken and the E15 waiver is D.O.A. According to the E15 waiver comments of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association the EPA does not have the legal authority to grant a partial waiver, it can only grant a waiver for all cars or deny the waiver. The NPRA stated in their waiver comments, “EPA raises in the Waiver Notice the possibility of conditionally approving the use of E15 or lesser mid-level blends only for a limited subset of vehicles. 74 Fed. Reg. 18,230. If EPA were to develop such a “bifurcated fuels” program pursuant to a partial E15 waiver, the Agency would be at risk for a CAA section 307 judicial challenge alleging that the Agency’s interpretation of section 211(f)(4) is unreasonable and exceeds the Agency’s authority.”

Since the EPA E15 waiver is permissive, that is it isn’t a mandatory E15 law, nobody has to make E15 and the gasoline producers were pretty much unanimous in their E15 waiver comments that they weren’t going to make a product with such high liability for damage without the government passing liability legislation holding them and their dealers harmless. In addition there are no new cars built from 2007 until today that have warranty coverage for E15, so who is going to pump a product into their gas tank that will void their warranty, cut their mileage and costs more than E10 does, because today ethanol is more expensive than gasoline … again!

It isn’t going to prevent, or even delay, the blending wall.  The funniest thing is that it can’t be sold in most states without state law changes, including California. So why all the fuss?

Footnote:  Even the Renewable Fuels Association agrees that E15 cannot be put in non flex-fuel vehicles any time soon, “Until health effects testing is completed, fuel producers have a 211(b) certification from EPA, certain state fuel regulations amended, and EPA’s misfueling and labeling proposed regulation finalized, E-15 must be confined to and labeled specifically for flexible fuel vehicles only,” explained the two groups in a joint release.”


E15 Will Make No Difference Now, Part II

September 7, 2010

Wonder when the EPA and the ethanol lobby are going to wake up?  If anyone ever bothered to read the RFS mandate in Section 202 of EISA 2007, which is driving all of this ethanol blending madness, they would find out that E10 or E15 is never mentioned in the act and that EISA 2007 is NOT A MANDATORY E10 law.  The RFS only deals with bio-diesel, E85 and flex-fuel vehicles.

So why all the  folderol over getting a waiver from the EPA for E15?  Because there is a huge problem buried in Section 202 (A) 2:  APPLICABLE VOLUMES OF RENEWABLE FUEL.  It is a hard coded table.  It outlines the volume of ethanol that must be produced and blended into gasoline by year:

Applicable volume of renewable fuel

Calendar year:                                   billions of gallons
2006 …………………………………………………………………… 4.0
2007 …………………………………………………………………… 4.7
2008 …………………………………………………………………… 9.0
2009 …………………………………………………………………… 11.1
2010 …………………………………………………………………… 12.95
2011 …………………………………………………………………… 13.95
2012 …………………………………………………………………… 15.2
2013 …………………………………………………………………… 16.55
2014 …………………………………………………………………… 18.15
2015 …………………………………………………………………… 20.5
2016 …………………………………………………………………… 22.25
2017 …………………………………………………………………… 24.0
2018 …………………………………………………………………… 26.0
2019 …………………………………………………………………… 28.0
2020 …………………………………………………………………… 30.0
2021 …………………………………………………………………… 33.0
2022 …………………………………………………………………… 36.0

Now keep in mind that the U.S. uses about 135-140 billion gallons of gasoline / year.  It has been in that range since the economic collapse started in 2008 and won’t likely rise in the foreseeable future unless the economy improves markedly.  If every drop of gasoline was E10, it would take, at most, 14 billion gallons of ethanol and the apparent advantage is that the refineries would only have to produce 126 billion gallons of gasoline so it appears we would use less oil, although nobody knows if that is actually true, since no one has done a large, statistically significant study of mileage before and after E10 is widely implemented.

Look at the table.  During 2012 the U.S. ethanol industry must produce more ethanol than can be put into all of the auto gasoline.  Clearly, after 2012 we are going to have ethanol coming out of our ears.  Are you beginning to understand why the RFS portion of EISA was clearly written for E85 and why the unintended consequences of the act are getting ugly?

So 2012 is the “Blending Wall” and in order for the ethanol industry to “delay” the blending wall while they try to get more taxpayer money out of Congress and state governments (which are going bankrupt, so not too likely) to add E85 infrastructure and get laws passed to force the auto industry to build more dinosaur “flex-fuel” vehicles, they figure the easiest way to delay the blending wall is to get the EPA to force gasoline companies to make E15 and force you to use it in your non flex-fuel vehicle.  And how long might that delay the blending wall?  Well, we would need 21 billion gallons of ethanol to take all of the gasoline E15, so the delay would be out to about 2016, maybe a four year delay, max.  But then we would still be at a blending wall.  Unless the U.S. starts making “Renewable Fuel”, which is E85, we are going to face a blending wall.

But it turns out there are a lot of niggling little details that need attention in order to actually implement the E15 waiver, if it is even granted.  The simple problems involve the EPA’s own set of rules about how they can go about raising the ethanol blending limit for non flex-fuel vehicles and they mainly involve a whole lot of testing.  That testing is beginning to indicate that E15 might be allowable in a range of cars, say 2007 and newer, perhaps 2001 and newer, but the testing won’t be finished for at least another couple of months, maybe more.  So the earliest that the EPA could grant some kind of waiver is looking like the end of 2010, leaving only two years until hitting the wall.

Now comes the real Gordian knot.  According to the API (American Petroleum Institute), the “evil foe” of the ethanol lobby, there are a few more hoops to jump through before you can actually foist E15 on an unsuspecting public.  They are outlined in this report.  The gist of the report is that it is going to take time, in some cases a long time, to implement E15, to say nothing of whether service stations are going to want to handle a new product with unknown liability, other than it will increase property damage.

I think the most ironic problem is that ethanol blending caps are built into a lot of state laws, as outlined in Appendix A of the report.  I live in Oregon, a mandatory E10 state.  The mandatory E10 law, passed in 2007 before the federal law passed, has infuriated a lot of our citizens.  But we are lucky in a way because embedded in that law is a 10% ethanol cap, so it is going to take a legislative change to remove the 10% limit, and this time we are prepared to fight, especially when you consider that the federal RFS mandate is supposed to be for “Renewable Fuel” which is E85.

In the final analysis though, we will be at the blending wall before E15 ever reaches the market, as I have predicted in past blogs.  It will be interesting to see the reaction of citizens when they can’t find ethanol free fuel anymore and the property damage increases and the economic impact to the aviation, marine and public safety industry spreads through an already fragile economy.



August 23, 2010

Here is an example of what is happening because of the unintended consequences of the federal RFS mandate in EISA 2007:

Aviators and the marine industry are finding it impossible to find a source of ethanol free fuel.  Of course the people who should really be worried are those in public safety who operate portable tools, but they never speak up because they are in government and until somebody dies because of ethanol blended fuel, they aren’t going to make waves.

What is ironic is the reaction of some Maine state legislators:

“Strang Burgess and Sen. Lisa Marraché, D-Waterville, discovered exactly that when they proposed a bill during the last legislative session to require retail dealers and distributors to offer nonethanol fuel. The bill stalled because “it wasn’t something we could fix at the state level,” Strang Burgess said.

It’s a federal issue, she said, driven by fuel standards.”

What “fuel standards”?  My guess is that some representative of the gasoline industry stated that at a bill hearing, but it is a lie.  I heard the same statement at public hearings in the state of Washington on a bill to protect the marine industry from the effects of ethanol blended fuel.

The question that the politicians from Maine should have asked is, “OK, show me the federal statute.”  While ethanol blending is being driven by the RFS mandate portion of EISA 2007, there is no federal statute that says all gasoline must be E10 in that act.  In fact E10 is never mentioned in the act, EISA 2007 is a corporate welfare act for E85 and flex-fuel vehicles.  Will somebody please read the act?


There are five active mandatory state E10 laws.  So if a state can pass a mandatory E10 law, it sure as hell can prohibit the blending of ethanol in premium gasoline used in the state!  And so can the EPA, and they may do exactly that in response to the E15 waiver.  We already know that there is property damage from E10 especially in the marine industry, so you can bet there will be more property damage if the EPA allows E15.  In order to minimize the damage the EPA would be wise to prohibit the blending of ethanol in all premium unleaded gasoline so those who must have ethanol free fuel can find it.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.