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ETHANOL QUOTA UP – GASOLINE USAGE DOWN – TRAIN WRECK COMING

February 12, 2012

DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND THE RFS MANDATE IN EISA 2007?

The federal RFS mandate in EISA 2007 is NOT A MANDATORY E10 LAW. E10 is never mentioned in the Act because E10 is NOT Renewable Fuel. E10 is gasoline with 10% ethanol in it, but it is still gasoline made to ASTM D4814. Is there anyone in the federal government or the EPA that understands this? If so then they should understand that there is a huge problem that will manifest itself this year.

There is a hard coded table in the RFS section of EISA 2007.  It is right there in Section 202.(a).(2) on page 31.  That table sets out the amount of ethanol that is supposed to be blended to make Renewable Fuel in each year through 2022. Renewable Fuel as implied in EISA 2007 is E85. It is actually defined as Renewable Fuel in a couple of places in the Act while E10 is never mentioned. Look at the ever increasing number of gallons of ethanol that are required to be blended in the table, year after year. Those numbers can only be satisfied by making E85 which is the whole point of the Act.  All of the corporate welfare created in the Act is for E85, nothing for E10.

So how much Renewable Fuel (E85) is produced in the country?  Not easy to find out, but according to this table, less than 1% of the ethanol blended in gasoline went to make E85 in 2009 and that has been pretty much the case since stats were kept back to 2000.  So 99% of the ethanol quota demanded by the EISA 2007 table is blended into gasoline to make E10.

Here’s the problem nobody is paying any attention to.  The table is hard coded.  The quota demand rises every year until 2022.  The table was predicated on the spread of E85, but that is not happening.  You can only blend so much ethanol at the 10% level until every drop of gasoline sold in the country is E10. When EISA 2007 was passed everyone believed that demand for gasoline would always increase absorbing the ethanol at the 10% blending level until E85 took over.  Only problem is E85 didn’t take off and now gasoline demand is declining … big time.

Look at this gasoline usage table from eia.  Note that the decline in usage between July 2011 and November 2011 is about 27% and that overall gasoline usage today is less now than in 1985.  No, not 2005, 1985, more than 20 years ago.

Big problem, gasoline demand is dropping like a rock.  Can you say “Blending Wall”?  Well it will be here this year.  So what are the gasoline producers going to do with all of the ethanol that can’t be blended into Renewable Fuel (E85) now? After all, essentially nobody has made Renewable Fuel (E85) at any time since the Renewable Fuel Standard was passed in 2008.  All the gasoline producers make is E10, which is NOT Renewable Fuel in the sense of EISA 2007. Are they going to eat the RINS like they are doing for the cellulosic ethanol that they can’t buy because nobody produces it?

This will have grave unintended consequences in the public safety arena, marine and aviation industry, for antique and classic cars and off road recreational vehicles like ATVs and snowmobiles and jet skis. There is no federal or state laws that require that some ethanol free gasoline be provided for these users.  In large sections of the country, especially along the seaboards, this is already the case. This will cause serious economic consequences including the possible loss of life if equipment in public safety does not work or fails because of E10. At least one state sees the handwriting on the wall. A state senator in Mississippi has introduced legislation to require every gas station sell ethanol free premium unleaded gasoline in the state.

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