Fix the Renewable Fuel Standard


Categorized in: Colorado, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, National, New England, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, RFS, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

The Houston Chronicle ran an editorial that urges the next administration and Congress to take a hard look at what the newspaper calls the “ethanol happy hour.” In Blended fuels: The fuel standard has created unintended consequences and is ripe for overhaul Chronicle editors write that one thing has gone unnoticed – the blend wall:

That figurative barrier is called the blend wall – the threshold beyond which the U.S. gasoline supply contains more than 10 percent ethanol. Oil industry and small government advocates point to the wall in criticizing the Renewable Fuel Standard, a decade-old law requiring an increasing volume of ethanol and other renewable liquids in the nation’s fuel supply.

Automakers say they can’t guarantee that any but a few of their engines will run properly on mixes of less than 90 percent gasoline, and many fuel suppliers say it’s difficult and expensive to comply with the federal mandate.

Renewable Fuel Standard biofuel mandates could cause a lot of problems, among them potential economic harm. Like the Chronicle, Energy Citizens believes the RFS needs to be fixed.

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The Problems with the Ethanol Mandate


Categorized in: Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, National, New England, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, RFS, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

It has been ten years since Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates the use of biofuels such as ethanol. Rep. Billy Long of Missouri has an excellent op-ed examining the ways this legislation failed to live up to expectations:

Despite their pure intentions, 2007 policymakers’ economic predictions have proven inaccurate and the overall program has fallen short. Concerns over gasoline usage decline have taken priority over those of inflated fuel demands, and innovations of new cellulosic biofuels has come more sluggishly than hoped. The Environmental Protection Agency has continuously adjusted the mandated fuel additive volumes downward in light of lower demands. 

So while dependence on foreign oil sources declined as hoped, RFS cannot claim credit. Also, experts like those from the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Congressional Budget Office cannot conclude that renewable fuels have delivered on lessened greenhouse gases. 

As Rep. Long points out, the RFS has not worked as predicted. In fact, its ethanol mandate could cause significant problems for consumers.

It is good to see growing bipartisan support in Congress to address these issues. One bill, HR 5180, would cap the amount of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. This legislation is a good start to begin fixing this flawed mandate. Have you asked your member of Congress to support it?

Boaters Want the Ethanol Mandate Fixed


Categorized in: RFS, Virginia

Are you ready for more ethanol in our fuel?

Thanks to the EPA’s decision on the Renewable Fuel Standard, we could soon see fuel with ethanol blends over 10%. That could pose a lot of trouble for many consumers. As Bill Cochran reports in the Roanoke Times, boat owners are especially upset over this:

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) has delivered 24,000 comments from recreational boaters to EPA headquarters in Washington urging the agency to stop adding more ethanol to the nation’s gasoline supply. Ten percent ethanol blends are common, and federal officials are considering 15 percent. Most new outboard engines are designed to operate on up to 10 percent ethanol. More than that can damage engines.

While the EPA is no longer taking comments on its ethanol decision, members of Congress have introduced legislation that would fix this problem. HR 5180 is supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. This bill would cap the amount of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. Energy Citizens should make sure that every member of the Virginia congressional delegation supports this much-needed bill.

Boaters worried about ethanol spoiling summer fun


Categorized in: Illinois, RFS

Farm and Dairy published a good article on the potential harmful effects high ethanol content fuel can have on boat engines. High ethanol can cause problems for boaters lists Illinois as one of 23 states where E15 (15 percent ethanol gasoline) is sold.

What’s wrong with E15? Here’s what Farm and Dairy reported, based on information provided by the Boat Owners Association of the United States:

E15 has been proven to damage boat engines and so it is prohibited in marine engines. It is also illegal to use E15 in snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawn mowers and leaf blowers, as well as any car or light-truck made before 2001.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is responsible for the rise in E15 fuel, as this shortsighted government mandate continues to force more ethanol into our fuel supply than our vehicles and small engine tools can tolerate.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to fix the RFS. Contact your member of the Illinois congressional delegation and make it clear you want to see HR 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act of 2016, approved.

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Fixing the Ethanol Mandate


Categorized in: Florida, RFS

There are many Floridians who do not like the Renewable Fuel Standard. They know the ethanol mandate can be detrimental to consumers, drivers, and the environment. That is why it’s good to see a bipartisan group in Congress supporting legislation that would fix some of the problems with this misguided law.

HR 5180, Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, would cap the amount of ethanol that must be blended into our fuel. This will prevent the forced introduction of E15, or gasoline that contains 15% ethanol. There is no consumer demand for E15, since it could cause significant problems with many motors.

There are three members of the Florida congressional delegation who have cosponsored this bill: Rep. Bill Posey, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, and Rep. Lois Frankel. Florida’s members of Congress need to hear from you that you support fixing the ethanol mandate. Have you called your representative yet?

Fighting the Ethanol Mandate


Categorized in: RFS, Virginia

H.R. 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, was introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6) at the beginning of 114th Congress. At a time when there seems to be so much division in Washington, it’s good to see Democrats and Republicans working together to fix the federal ethanol mandate.

H.R. 5180 would address some of the problems with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). When written, the RFS assumed that Americans would use an increasing amount of fuel every year. That’s why the law mandated that an increasing volume of ethanol must be blended into this fuel. However, gasoline consumption has gone down, and the law, as it exists now, mandates that an unworkable volume of ethanol be blended into fuel. If this law is not changed, we could see gasoline with an ethanol content above 10% being forced on consumers. Use of these higher ethanol blended gasolines could void the warranties of many vehicles because it could harm engines.

In a statement upon the introduction of H.R. 5180, Rep. Goodlatte discusses some of the problems this situation could cause for consumers:

The ethanol mandate is operating outside of the confines of reality. Mixing greater amounts of ethanol into the fuel supply decreases fuel efficiency, sending motorists to the pump more frequently. It can also lead to costly trips to the repair shop for families, businesses, and farmers to fix the damage caused by higher ethanol blends to some vehicles and small engines, like lawn mowers. Forcing more ethanol to be blended into the fuel supply than consumers want, or that engines can safely handle, makes little sense.

H.R. 5180 will cap the volume of ethanol that must be blended into fuel. This is a commonsense fix to the flaws of the original RFS legislation.

Missouri editorial exposes “outdated, costly ethanol”


Categorized in: National, RFS

Ryan Rowden, executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Council, recently ran down a laundry list of problems with the Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol mandate (RFS) in his June 21 Kansas City Star guest editorial, EPA pushing outdated, costly ethanol fuel.

Some of the highlights:

  • E15 gasoline contains 15 percent ethanol. It could be costly. About 90 percent of vehicles on the road today were not designed to use E15. Extensive testing shows that E15 can cause damage to engines and fuel systems not covered by warranty.
  • Continuing to increase ethanol volumes could drive up prices at the pump — by 26 cents per gallon, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • The flawed policy is already affecting food costs, prompting anti-hunger organizations, grocers, restaurant associations and producers of poultry, pork and beef to speak out. By diverting nearly 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop from food to fuel, the ethanol mandate has contributed to a 25 percent increase in the consumer price index for food since 2005.

Rowden also quoted one restaurant owner whose business has been dramatically impacted by the RFS:

A Wendy’s franchise owner in Virginia stated: “The corn ethanol mandate, or RFS, is costing my small company up to $34,000 more in higher food costs per restaurant, each and every year. For our family business, that’s approximately $374,000 a year in additional costs.”

Truthfully, it’s getting harder and harder to find anyone who supports the RFS ethanol mandate. Congress needs to step up and do away with this outdated plan before it inflicts any more damage. Take a minute to email your U.S. senator and House member to tell them so.

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Illinois Energy Citizens Working Hard to Fix the RFS


Categorized in: Illinois, RFS

Fixing the Renewable Fuel Standard – convincing Congress to step up and force the EPA to lower harmful ethanol mandates – has been a major focus for Illinois Energy Citizens lately. We want to thank you for posting about the RFS on social media, writing letters to the editor, and directly reaching out to House members through dozens of emails and phone calls.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House – H.R. 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act – that would limit the amount of ethanol the EPA can force into our fuel supply to protect our vehicles. Making sure our representatives in Congress are voting in favor of H.R. 5180 is really important.

Read more about the RFS and H.R. 5180 in the American Spectator:

It is time to get back to allowing the free market — not Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, not mandates, not artificially spurred growth in a chosen industry — to determine our fuel choices. Because ethanol is an effective octane-boosting additive, it will always have market demand. Farmers who’ve invested in it will not be driven out of business. The Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, while not repealing the RFS outright (which would be tough to pass), offers a reasonable fix to well-intended, but flawed legislation.

Well put. Make sure you are in contact with your representative in the House, expressing your support for this bill.

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Fighting the Ethanol Mandate


Categorized in: RFS, Virginia

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia has teamed up with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce H.R. 5180, the Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act. At a time when there seems to be so much division in Washington, it’s good to see Democrats and Republicans working together to fix the federal ethanol mandate.

H.R. 5180 would address some of the problems with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). When written, the RFS assumed that Americans would use an increasing amount of fuel every year. That’s why the law mandated that an increasing volume of ethanol must be blended into this fuel. However, gasoline consumption has gone down, and the law, as it exists now, mandates that an unworkable volume of ethanol be blended into fuel. If this law is not changed, we could see gasoline with an ethanol content above 10% being forced on consumers. Use of these higher ethanol-gasoline blends could void the warranties of many vehicles because it could harm engines.

In a statement upon the introduction of H.R. 5180, Rep. Goodlatte discusses some of the problems this situation could cause for consumers:

The ethanol mandate is operating outside of the confines of reality. Mixing greater amounts of ethanol into the fuel supply decreases fuel efficiency, sending motorists to the pump more frequently. It can also lead to costly trips to the repair shop for families, businesses, and farmers to fix the damage caused by higher ethanol blends to some vehicles and small engines, like lawn mowers. Forcing more ethanol to be blended into the fuel supply than consumers want, or that engines can safely handle, makes little sense.

H.R. 5180 will cap the volume of ethanol that must be blended into fuel. This is a commonsense fix to the flaws of the original RFS legislation. Besides Rep. Goodlatte, the only other member of Congress from Virginia to cosponsor this bill thus far is Rep. Morgan Griffith. Let’s make sure that every member of the Virginia congressional delegation supports this legislation, too.

New Ethanol Mandate Will Cause Problems


Categorized in: Pennsylvania, RFS

The EPA is proposing to increase the volume of ethanol that is blended into our fuel. This new mandate could lead to gasoline being sold that has an ethanol content in excess of 10%. That can cause real problems. Tony Calderelli, the Pennsylvania chair of Vets4Energy, explains what a high ethanol mandate would do:

According to a report from NERA Economic Consulting, these mandates could lead to fuel supply disruptions, cause the cost of diesel fuel to rise 300 percent, raise the price of gasoline 30 percent, decrease U.S. gross domestic product by $770 billion and reduce worker pay by $580 billion. As any economist who can put two and two together will tell you, this makes zero fiscal sense.

With almost a decade of failure behind it, the Renewable Fuel Standard needs to go. At the very least, Congress should pass HR 5180, a bill that would put a cap on the amount of ethanol blended into our fuel. This legislation is a good way to fix one of the biggest issues with the RFS. Energy Citizens should work to ensure that every member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation supports this bill.