Posts Tagged ‘stop ethanol’



April 15, 2012

You have to love the irony.  Congressman John Shimkus (R-Collinsville, IL) has introduced legislation “…  to prevent lawsuits related to problems with E15 …”.

Hmmmmm, isn’t the headquarters of ADM in Illinois?  Ah yes, Corporate HeadquartersArcher Daniels Midland Company 4666 Faries Parkway Decatur, IL 62526.  Now it all makes sense.

OK, perhaps it is a bit more complicated.  It is true that ADM has donated to congressman Shimkus, but what is more interesting is who congressman Shimkus’ major donors are, the oil and gas industries.  Keep in mind that the gasoline producers have stated publicly that they will not produce E15 unless they are immune from damage lawsuits, but they are required to blend more and more ethanol every year until 2022 so it would behoove them to produce E15 to meet their ever increasing quotas.  Thus this new legislation will benefit both ADM and big oil.  Of course the consumer will continue to get screwed by both big ethanol and big oil.

Luckily you don’t have to buy any E15.  The whole silly project is voluntary from start to finish.  So why would you buy a product that will decrease your mileage, void your warranty and damage your car?  Really makes you wonder what they are smoking over at the ethanol lobby and the EPA.


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.)


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?



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.”


It Isn’t The Blending Wall We Should Be Worried About

February 6, 2010

New Math At The EPA

If you look at consumption statistics from the EIA you would find that the US consumed about 42 billion gallons of diesel and 136 billion gallons of auto gas in 2009.  Those stats show a decline in diesel usage and a tiny increase in auto gas usage over 2008, a year when both stats declined over 2007.  In 2009 the EPA mandated that 10.2% of that total consumption of 178 billion gallons of liquid hydrocarbon fuel be from renewable resources.  That would result in about 18 billion gallons of renewable fuel of which at least 10.5 billion gallons had to be fuel ethanol as outlined in the table in EISA 2007 (Section 202, page 31).  What is strange is that .6 billion gallons had to be “Advanced Biofuel” resulting in the total RFS requirement of 11.1 billion gallons.  So what was the other 6.1 billion gallons required by the EPA?

The EPA has just announced the 2010 standard.  The EIA 2010 projection is:  “Consumption of motor gasoline rises by 50,000 bbl/d, or 0.6 percent, and distillate fuel consumption increases by 80,000 bbl/d, or 2.1 percent.”  This would result in a diesel usage of  almost 43 billion gallons and an auto gasoline usage of  almost 137 billion gallons for a total of 180 billion gallons of liquid hydrocarbon fuel.  The EPA has set the renewable fuel mandate to be 8.25% or almost 15 billion gallons of renewable fuel.  Quite a drop don’t you think?  Of the total 12 billion gallons has to be fuel ethanol and .95 billion gallons has to be “Advanced Biofuel” for a total RFS mandate required by EISA 2007 of 12.95 billion gallons.  So what is the other 2.05 billion gallons of renewable fuel required by the EPA?  Anybody know?

Now here is the real problem, discounting the math which doesn’t obtain.  This year there was supposed to be 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in that .95 billion gallons of “Advanced Biofuel” number according to the hard coded table in EISA 2007.  The EPA has lowered the quantity to 6.5 million gallons required.  Anybody noticing the huge difference! The change was made after 30 companies said they could not produce the required 100 million gallons.  Thirty companies couldn’t come up with 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol?

Do you know how many years the government has been throwing your tax dollars at cellulosic ethanol?  According to The Cellulosic Ethanol SiteModeling and experimental studies on dilute hydrolysis systems were carried out during the first half of the 1980s. DOE and USDA sponsored much of this work.”  The industry has said that a viable commercial cellulosic ethanol process is five years away for the last three decades and today they still say that “we are only five years away from a viable cellulosic ethanol process”.  And according to the above site your tax dollars are still being showered on them:  “In March 2007, the US government awarded $385 million in grants aimed at jumpstarting ethanol production from nontraditional sources like wood chips, switchgrass and citrus peels. Half of the six projects chosen will use thermochemical methods and half will use cellulosic ethanol methods.”  Apparently none of those 2007 grants produced much of anything since 30 companies can’t even make 100 million gallons of ethanol this year.

But the real crux of the problem is that after 2015 all of the increase in the ethanol mandate in EISA 2007 must be met by “Advanced Biofuels”, corn ethanol will be capped at 15 billion gallons.  In 2015, 6.5 billion gallons of “Advanced Biofuel” must be produced of which at least 3 billion gallons must be cellulosic biofuel (ethanol).  Never mind that the ethanol blending wall will be met no later than 2012, the true idiocy of the RFS mandate in EISA 2007 will be totally exposed when there is no way to get from 2015 to 2022.  Of course none of it will be needed unless the ethanol industry, Congress and the auto industry figure out how to move to E85 which was the whole point of EISA 2007 in the first place.  Read the act, it is a corporate welfare act for E85.  E10 is never even mentioned and there is no corporate welfare for E10, E15, ad nausea other than the blenders credit which actually pays for infrastructure upgrades for the oil distribution industry.


Mythbusters: E10 Reduces Our Dependence On Foreign Oil

August 10, 2009

It has been said over and over, ad infinitem, “E10 reduces our dependence on foreign oil.”  That should be ad nauseum, because there is no evidence whatsoever that it does or has.  It was stated repeatedly by the ethanol lobby and the ethanol booster politicians in Oregon in 2007 when the state passed its mandatory E10 law.  Strangely nobody questioned the premise, they still don’t, even after there was widespread anecdotal evidence right after implementation of E10 statewide, that it wasn’t true, or at the very least wasn’t provable.


Go ahead Google all you want.  Nobody has ever done one.  Oregon sure as heck didn’t do one.

And this is the key problem.  It appears that a lot of cars see mileage decreases in excess of the predicted 1 – 3% that all of the ethanol boosters say should happen.  If it did then they could rightly claim that E10 is reducing gasoline usage by maybe 7%.  But drivers are reporting mileage losses in excess of 10%, sometimes more than 30%.  If that is the case we may actually be using more gasoline under our mandatory E10 program than before the program.  So much for reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

So why could this be happening?  There is a very probable explanation, perhaps somewhat complicated, but it makes sense.  It dates back to the technology used by car manufacturers to meet the U.S. Clean Air Act requirements for 1981.  The new cars switched to sophisticated computer controlled electronic fuel injection systems.  Since that time there have been a number of versions of the fuel control and pollution control systems, the latest being Technology Class 5 vehicles manufactured from 1996 on, which are classified as Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs).  These hi-tech engine control units (ECUs or PCMs) are software programmed to control fuel injection and timing to provide optimum engine operation while minimizing tail pipe pollution levels in conjunction with pollution control devices such as the catalytic converter.  However the software algorithms and adaptive range capabilities for dealing with gasoline additives, such as ethanol, are proprietary.

Before 2006 there were no states with mandatory E10 laws and the highest ethanol blending levels were about 3% for certain areas with winter CO air quality problems.  It is doubtful that any of the ECUs had parameter tables, called fuel maps, that understood what was going on when 10% ethanol was put in the gas tank with its vastly increased oxygen level.

According to this old report, (read the Technical Issues Section starting on Page 3), different ECUs may produce different results on higher ethanol blends.  In fact the latest ECUs may be programmed for very narrow oxygen bands:

“In certain vehicles, the oxygen sensor could have a limited ability to transmit voltage, and could be unable to transmit voltage levels commensurate with the level of oxygen present in the fuel (Cagle 1999).
NOx emissions may be elevated due to the PCM’s inability to compensate for higher oxygen levels. The argument further maintains that ULEVs and other future technology vehicles will require an air/fuel trim within a very tight range to achieve emissions compliance.”

It is doubtful then that any ECUs, or PCMs, built before 2006 have fuel maps that take into account 10% ethanol in fuel.  The report also states that the problems may be worse for earlier versions of ECU / pollution control systems.

Is this why many cars are seeing a much worse mileage decrease than is predicted by the 3% loss of energy in a 10% ethanol blend?


EISA 2007 Is A Hazard To Public Safety

July 20, 2009

Who will be the first human casualty of the unintended consequences of EISA 2007

Today is the last day to comment on the E15 waiver request that is before the EPA.  I have learned a few things from those comments, none of them bode well.

I wonder if anyone at the EPA actually understands the federal RFS mandate.  You would think they should because they are the federal department tasked with implementing the mandate.  Anyone with an ounce of sense would look at the ethanol production quota table in Section 202 and instantly recognize that the Act was designed to produce and distribute E85.  The production demands are so large that by 2011 – 2012 there will be enough ethanol produced to take every gallon of gasoline in the U.S. E10 and all of the tax incentives and corporate welfare built into the Act are for E85, E10 is never mentioned.

So what happens when all of the gasoline in the U.S. is E10.  Something very interesting.  The Director of the Division of Air Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation commented:  “E10 is not simply ethanol added to finished gasoline. Since most gasoline at retail contains ethanol, the industry factors the addition of ethanol into the formulation of the petroleum-based portion of the final blend. The chemical properties of ethanol and its dilution impact allow refiners to produce a petroleum-based blendstock which when combined with a specified amount of ethanol (or other oxygenate) results in a final blend with the desired legal and market properties.  The petroleum based blendstock, in most cases, would not qualify as gasoline or be legal to sell as gasoline.  For RFG this blendstock is RBOB. For conventional gasoline it is CBOB, and for California RFG it is CaRBOB.”

Does anyone at the EPA understand that there won’t be any ethanol free finished gasoline available for those engine applications that cannot run on ethanol belended gasoline?  Do they understand what will happen to the marine industry, aviation industry and public safety organizations that rely on small engines for their pumps, generators and portable tools?  Is the EPA prepared for the liability and litigation that will ensue from their decision to allow all of the gasoline in the country to go E10 or higher?  Liability will rest directly with the department since it is tasked with implementing the deeply flawed RFS mandate.

My final comment to the EPA for the E15 waiver can be read here.


Ethanol Free Gasoline Will Probably Disappear

June 28, 2009

There is a chilling comment in the E15 waiver process that is now before the EPA that indicates that it is likely that ethanol free gasoline will essentially disappear as we know it.  Maybe there will be small amounts available in drums just as leaded and special racing fuel is now but it will be prohibitively expensive.

This is what the Director of the Division of Air Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stated in his comment:      (Comments in italics are my comments)

“E10 is not simply ethanol added to finished gasoline.  Since most gasoline at retail contains ethanol, the industry factors the addition of ethanol into the formulation of the petroleum-based portion of the final blend.  The chemical properties of ethanol and its dilution impact allow refiners to produce a petroleum-based blendstock which when combined with a specified amount of ethanol (or other oxygenate) results in a final blend with the desired legal and market properties.  The petroleum-based blendstock, in most cases, would not qualify as gasoline or be legal to sell as gasoline.  For RFG (Reformulated Gasoline, the really clean stuff required in certain areas) this blendstock is RBOB.  For conventional gasoline it is CBOB, (this is what is coming down the Olympic pipeline to Washington and Oregon) and for California RFG it is CaRBOB.”

What this means is that not only will 91+ AKI premium unleaded disappear as we knew that it would, but 89 AKI CBOB used for making 91+ AKI premium E10 cannot be used for aircraft with the EAA STCs, low compression Petersen STCs, nor the 85 HP Rotax engines because it is not “legal” gasoline.  Essentially nobody will be able to order any ethanol free gasoline product.  Neither will the marine industry be able to find any legal ethanol free gasoline.

Please realize that the ethanol blendstock is cheaper to make for the refineries and results in more gasoline product because the AKI is lower, so they have a huge incentive to make this stuff.  We also know from the testimony of WSPA in the Washington state public hearings, for a marine protection bill, that CBOB is the only gasoline product that is going to be available at the terminals in short order in Washington.  It is already the only product delivered to Oregon since we are a mandatory E10 state.  We know that the only ethanol free product coming into Oregon is by barge from somewhere else, other than the Washington refineries.


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