RFA Says Ethanol Production Saves Up to $1.50 Per Gallon at the Pump
September 25, 2013 3:17 PM
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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
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
, which is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline).
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.
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RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
9/27/2013 9:54:16 AM
I don't think that's the only way.
I'm not saying that their numbers are accurate, but consider a case where one of the combustion properties had to be changed across the board to deal with the ethanol additive.
E.g. running a 12:1 Air Fuel ratio instead of a 14:1 ratio
RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
9/28/2013 2:47:00 PM
That why I said, "unless your engine is running really rich for no reason". 12:1 is rich.
RE: Doesn't Make Sense.
9/28/2013 5:53:54 PM
You see, I'm not sure that you have understood the word rich. The border between rich and weak is stoichiometric, and, excepting faults, petrol engines will be running at stoichiometric for a lot of the time (there are conditions like deccel fuel cut-off where this doesn't apply, but that isn't relevant to the point, here).
But stoichiometric isn't a constant ratio, as it depends on the nature of the fuel. In particular, the amount of oxygen in the fuel makes a big difference to the amount of external oxygen you need for complete combustion.
As you are trying to completely burn the fuel, you might re-act 'Well d'oh' to this information that having oxygen inherent in the fuel reduces the need for oxygen from another source, but it is a big factor).
So, the theoretical air requirements, in kg/kg units (basically mass per mass in any consistent mass units) are:
'Regular Gas' 14.8
Premium Gas 14.7
(Those regular and premium numbers are for pre-alcohol mandate fuels, although there is probably a little alcohol in that 'premium' fuel. And none of these numbers are exact - the alcohols tend not to be pure, depending on production method, and the 'Gas' numbers are for blends, but none of this makes a difference to the big picture.)
Now, given that 'rich' are 'weak' are relative to that number (or, more exactly, the number for the mixture of hydrocarbons that you are using, which won't be just one hydrocarbon) you can't just say that 12:1 is rich: it would be for fuel without any alcohol, but put a substantial percentage of alcohol (and I do mean substantial) in it, and suddenly it is weak.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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