Print 77 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Oct 10 at 11:56 PM

Verleger said that oil prices would be $15 to $40 a barrel higher than they are today without ethanol added in

A new analysis shows that American consumers are saving anywhere from millions to even trillions of dollars annually at the pump thanks to ethanol blends.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) -- which presented information from former Ford and Carter administration energy advisor Philip Verleger -- American consumers are paying between 50 cents and $1.50 per gallon less for gasoline due to the addition of ethanol blends (such as E15, which is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline). 

The analysis further said that consumers are saving from $700 billion to about $2.6 trillion annually on gas because of ethanol. 

Verleger said that oil prices would be $15 to $40 a barrel higher than they are today without ethanol added in. 
“Had Congress not raised the renewable fuels requirement, commercial crude oil inventories at the end of August would have dropped to 5.2 million barrels, a level two hundred million barrels lower than at any time since 1990,” said Verleger. “The lower stocks would almost certainly have pushed prices higher. Crude oil today might easily sell at prices as high as or higher than in 2008. Preliminary econometric tests suggest the price at the end of August would have been $150 per barrel.” 

AAA said the national average is about $3.50 a gallon and the cost per barrel is around $100-$110.

E15 in particular has been a hot topic this year. In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) froze a planned bump in ethanol levels that was set for next year. The freeze came after state efforts to ban E15, and House debates on whether to cut the blending requirements entirely.

In 2012, only 4.55 billion bushels of corn was used to produce ethanol, which was down from 5 billion bushels in 2011.  About 13.33 billion gallons of ethanol was produced last year, missing the goal of 15.2 billion gallons.

Ethanol opponents say the use of ethanol blends takes away from the nation's corn crops, and livestock farmers saw the cost of feed inflated by having to compete with ethanol. In addition, environmentalists say corn ethanol produces more emissions over its life cycle than oil.

Furthermore, ethanol can damage many old vehicles (and even some new) on American's roads because parts in the engines made of rubber, plastic, metal, and other materials aren't made for high ethanol blends. 

Later in August of this year, big oil firms filed a request to cut the ethanol target for 2014. The EPA announced that refiners must blend in 18.15 billion gallons during 2014 under The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007's (EISA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) terms. The oil industry, however, wants that target to be slashed 3.35 billion gallons to a total of 14.8 billion gallons. 

Source: Ethanol Producer

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By MozeeToby on 9/25/2013 4:26:24 PM , Rating: 5
Making ethanol requires taking matter from soils and burning it. It doesn't go back to the soil.
Fun fact, the vast, vast majority of matter that makes up plants comes out of the air. Only trace minerals and water are taken up through the roots. Else every farmed field would be a sunken pit 20 feet deep after a few decades.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Solandri on 9/26/2013 12:16:59 AM , Rating: 4
Just to expand on this. Plants:

* Take in CO2 from the air + H2O from the ground and air.
* Release O2 and convert the remaining CH2O into sugar; the energy to do this comes from sunlight.

They combine two short sugars (glucose and fructose) to form table sugar (sucrose).
Longer chains of sugar form starches / carbohydrates.
Longer chains of starches form cellulose, aka wood.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/26/2013 7:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
Here's another fun fact.

Plants take most of the matter that they use to grow from the soil. The fact you don't see 20 foot craters after a few decades is that farmers must dump hundreds of tons of fertilizers on their fields every year. Plants don't eat dirt any more than we do. They eat the fertilizers. But they need a LOT of those 'trace minerals'. Without fertilizing a field would be pretty much dead after as little as 2 seasons.

The fertilizers they take in through their roots is used by the plant cells for the miracle of reproduction & growth - aka life. Water is mostly transported by the roots as well though a small amount comes from the air.

Pollution is from the additional crap mixed in with the fertilizers (i.e. plants do not use everything in manure) and pesticides used on the farmer's fields leeching into the water table. Fields do not cause air pollution - in fact they do the opposite by scrubbing the CO2 out of the air and returning oxygen. IMHO a pretty big plus right there.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/26/2013 7:20:18 AM , Rating: 2
Further expansion:

As mentioned by Solandri carbon from the C02 is used to create sugars.

However in themselves sugars are fuel. Cell growth requires energy (fuel). The biochemical process combines that energy with the minerals taken in to create new cells (cellulose/wood is made up of cells - you can see them using any microscope). Cells cannot be created by sugars alone. They also need these minerals taken from the fertilizers. The process is not all that different from any living organism on the planet.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Solandri on 9/26/2013 4:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
Cellulose is (C6 H10 O5)n. It's the hard load-bearing structure (analogous to our bones) between the cells of a plant, not the cells themselves.

The interior of a plant is actually dead (only cellulose remaining). The living part with cells is just the outside layer. Like coral, they lay down a new cylindrical layer of cellulose as they grow around the outside.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/26/2013 7:02:53 PM , Rating: 2
You are looking only at the surface. All carbon-based life on this planet is made of cells. From the smallest single-cell bacteria to the tallest tree to the largest white whale. Even coral is formed from cells. Your bones are too. And yes, even wood is made of cells that are fed by the plant's circulatory system. There are no exceptions.

Our bones are made up of cells as well:

Your trees and plants are also made up of cells. They look different than animal cells, but they are cells nonetheless. Your wood is nothing more than mummified remains of tree stem cells.

Here's a link regarding the lifecycle of a tree stem taken from a biology text book.

Gives you a lovely animation on how the process actually works and how wood is made.

It really does not matter what the chemical composition of the cellulose in wood or plants is. The fact remains that these minerals don't just magically appear there. They are put there by the plant's cells and circulatory system.

I learned all of this stuff in high school biology.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/26/2013 7:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, this is getting way off topic. Nobody really cares about plant biology.

... moving on :D

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By FITCamaro on 9/26/2013 8:47:44 AM , Rating: 3
You can grow crops without fertilizers. They did it for thousands of years. Even the Bible teaches farmers to use crop rotation in order to allow fields to recover and not become worthless.

We use fertilizers today to help improve yields, not because without them fields wouldn't be able to produce year after year.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/26/13, Rating: 0
RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By superstition on 9/26/2013 4:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's typical for this site to hide a post like that. Let's just all pretend that people aren't going to use fertilizers to increase yields to meet the demand created by ethanol subsidies, food waste, and expanding population (with increased consumption).

As for fertilizers...

...some plant foods such as potatoes, rice, sunflower seeds, spinach, and other leafy greens can also take in significant amounts of the metal from the environment, due in large part to the use of cadmium-containing phosphate fertilizers, according to Bruce A. Fowler, a researcher at the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
By Mint on 9/26/2013 5:41:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but those improvements are huge. We'd need a lot more farmland and irrigation water to feed 300+ million people without fertilizers.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki