As EPA rolls into Kansas City, Kan. for its public hearing on its proposed ethanol rules, blogs have focused on the shortcomings of the RFS – in particular, its effects on the environment, engines and the economy. Elsewhere, the U.S. Energy Information Administration states that domestic refinery capacity has reached 18 million barrels per day.

Smarter Fuel Future: EPA Heads to Dust Bowl ‘Ground Zero’ for Public Hearing
“EPA is headed to Kansas City, Kan. this week to host the one and only public hearing on the agency’s most recent proposal on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the controversial federal law that mandates biofuels—primarily corn ethanol—be blended into our fuel… Kansas is in the heartland of Corn Country and was even the earliest adopter of fuel pumps equipped for E15 (gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol). The first E15 gas station in the country was installed in the state; today there are seven. But since then, it’s been a rocky road, and the state has been plagued with environmental woes linked to land conversion resulting from the rush to grow ever-more corn to fulfill federally-imposed ethanol mandates. For example, Kansas, and a handful of surrounding states, have experienced a re-emergence of dust storms resulting from similar manmade conditions that lead to the great Dust Bowl of the 1930s. In 2007, the RFS expanded ethanol mandates. As a result, more land was required to grow more corn to fulfill those mandates. Analysis by the Environmental Working Group shows that from 2008 to 2012, ‘more than 5.3 million acres of highly erodible land [went] under the plow despite the drought that continues to plague the plains.'”

Source: Environmental Working Group

American Motorcycle Association: Government “knows what’s best” for motorcyclists
“In this case, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes it knows what type of fuel is best for your motorcycle. On May 29, the EPA proposed setting the renewable fuel standard for 2014 at the levels that were actually produced and used, which totaled 15.93 billion gallons. But for 2015, the standard rises to 16.3 billion gallons. And for 2016, the total increases again, to 17.4 billion gallons. The corn-ethanol volumes would be 13.25 billion gallons for 2014, 13.4 billion gallons in 2015 and 14 billion gallons in 2016. By now you are asking, ‘How do these fuel mandates affect my ride?’ The practical effect of the EPA’s action is that ethanol production will exceed the ‘blend wall,’ the point at which no more ethanol can be mixed into the nation’s fuel supply without resulting in blends higher than 10 percent. That means more E15 and less E10/E0 on the market.”

Global Warming.org (Competitive Enterprise Institute): Renewable Fuel Standard: Can EPA Regulate America Beyond the ‘Blend Wall’?“Why is breaching the blend wall a problem? Refiners are obligated to blend biofuel only into gasoline and diesel sold in the U.S. domestic market. Refiners can lose money when they buy and blend biofuel that cannot be sold domestically. So if RFS targets exceed the blend wall, refiners will act to reduce their blending obligations by either decreasing production or exporting. Consequently, annual increases in RFS volumes beyond the blend wall can ‘lead to a reduction in supply of gasoline and diesel fuel in the U.S. market.’ That in turn can inflate motor fuel prices — in some scenarios dramatically, imposing significant costs on trucking, commerce, and the economy as a whole.”

Energy Information Administration: U.S. refinery capacity reaches 18 million barrels per day
“Increased refinery runs—based on increases in both capacity and utilization—have helped accommodate increases in U.S. crude oil production. The United States’ capacity to refine crude oil into petroleum products—measured as operable atmospheric crude distillation unit (CDU) capacity—increased by 0.2% in 2014, reaching 18.0 million barrels per calendar day (b/d), according to EIA’s recently released annual Refinery Capacity Report.”

Alexander Adams

Posted by Alexander Adams

Alexander Alexander is the former Communications Specialist at AFPM. To learn more about AFPM, visit AFPM.org.