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The EPA will hold a public hearing and take comments for 60 days before the 2014 requirements are finalized

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is challenging a 2007 energy law in regards to the amount of ethanol that should be blended with gasoline next year. 
 
According to a report from The Detroit News, the EPA wants to lower the amount of corn-based ethanol -- as well as other biofuels -- required to be blended with gasoline from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons next year. 
 
The 2007 energy law passed by Congress aimed for 18.15 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended with gasoline in 2014. But this number was based on the expectation that the consumption of gasoline in the U.S. would continue rising over the years, and instead, it's remained pretty "flat," mainly due to a weak economy, hefty gas prices and fuel-efficient vehicles.
 
It's important to note that the Renewable Fuels Standard sets requirements for how much of an increase in ethanol and other biofuels can be blended into gasoline by total gallons, not as a percentage of the fuel each year. 
 
The EPA will hold a public hearing and take comments for 60 days before the 2014 requirements are finalized.


Automakers and drivers have worried that fuel with higher ethanol blends (such as E15, which consists of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) could permeate and degrade rubber, plastic, metal and other materials in older vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of E15 for 2001 model year vehicles and newer, and automakers like Volkswagen AG, General Motors and Ford have even approved it for some of their latest models. But those with older models could see some real problems with E15.
 
E10 (10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline) is currently the standard at most gas stations in the U.S., but some -- like the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which consists of Detroit’s Big Three, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp. and others -- feel that increasing the amount of ethanol to E15 could be problematic without proper testing. In fact, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said just last week that the EPA was pushing E15 onto the market much too quickly. 
 
AAA also called on the EPA to put a stop to E15 because of its potential danger to older vehicles back in December 2012. AAA celebrated the EPA's latest decision. 
 
“The EPA’s proposal to decrease ethanol requirements will help drivers by preventing a surge in gas prices or the premature expansion of E15 gasoline sales. While we would like to increase the use of alternative fuels, it is a plain fact that the Renewable Fuels Standard’s original targets are unreachable without putting motorists and their vehicles at risk,” said Bob Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO.
 
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has tried to defend the use of ethanol, and even released a report back in September that said American consumers are paying between 50 cents and $1.50 per gallon less for gasoline due to the addition of ethanol blends. The report also said that consumers are saving from $700 billion to about $2.6 trillion annually on gas because of ethanol, and that oil prices would be $15 to $40 a barrel higher than they are today without the added ethanol. 

Source: The Detroit News



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RE: Butanol
By Motoman on 11/18/2013 3:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
That is horrifically ignorant of you to say.

The fact that you're growing a dedicate crop of *anything* on land that could be otherwise used for food is a catastrophe. For the simple fact that it drives up the cost of food everywhere, and on the flipside decreases the supply of food everywhere.

It doesn't matter what crop you're using. The effect on the food cycle is negative in every example. The only way you can justify growing a crop for fuel is if you're doing it in such a way that the food cycle isn't impacted. And that precludes using arable soil that could otherwise grow food.


RE: Butanol
By syslog2000 on 11/18/2013 3:49:25 PM , Rating: 1
It doesn't have to be a food crop at all. Look up switchgrass. Its very energy dense (many times more than corn), grows rapidly, is drought resistant and requires little if any fertilizer. What would be wrong with using that as a fuel source?

Good write up at http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alte...


RE: Butanol
By Motoman on 11/18/2013 7:26:18 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is where do you grow it, and how do you harvest it?

If you plant it on land that could otherwise be used to grow food, you're negatively impacting the food cycle. If you plant it on land that, for whatever reason *can't* be used to grow food...well, there's something wrong with that land, now isn't there? Like, it's too rocky to cultivate...or too swampy to harvest from.

No free lunch here.


RE: Butanol
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/18/2013 7:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you get hard up and eat the corn you were growing for ethanol ;)


RE: Butanol
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/18/2013 7:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
You are hypothesizing that the land *would* be used to grow food. Who says land should only be used for food or that a farmer must only grow food?

That's not a given. A farmer won't grow more food than he can sell. Farming is still a business and has to make money whether than is from food crops, fuel crops or both. If the crops he is growing can be used for either purpose, then it is a bonus for him because what he can't sell as food can be sold as fuel.

Growing fuel crops that can't alternately be used as food would not make a lot of sense to a farmer. Likewise growing too much of a food crop and being able to sell surplus as fuel is also a big win.


RE: Butanol
By Motoman on 11/18/2013 8:33:06 PM , Rating: 1
This is very simple. So I'm going to type it out very slowly to help you understand.

If you grow a crop on arable land that isn't for food, you decreased the food supply. Because you *could* have grown food. Even if you farm on land that's never been farmed before...you *could* have grown food. You could have improved the supply and lowered the cost.

But you didn't. You grew fuel. Which, by that very fact, negatively impacted the food cycle.

Using arable land to *not* grow food is always...ALWAYS...a stupid idea. That is irrefutable and there's no way around it.

I'm all for biofuels. Just do it without using land that could grow food.


RE: Butanol
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/19/2013 10:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
*Could be used* and *is being used* are two very, very different things.

You forget what is being grown on that otherwise unused arable land. CORN
And what do we use corn for?

Human and animal food (duh!).
Beer
Cooking oil
Cosmetics
Drugs
Drywall
Fertilizer (omg. fertilizing corn fields with ... corn? O.o )
Paper products
Paint and Varnish
Pesticides
Porcelain (electrical insulators msotly)
Tires
Toothpaste

oh and .... Fuel.

Why aren't you upset over everything else corn is used to make that is not food? After all is it such a crime that the house/apartment you are living is was grown from what should have been food? How about that beer or the spark plugs in your car? Did you remember to bush your teeth with your corn this morning?

Do you have such an issue with soybeans being used to make biodiesel? They are food too. And yes there are several non-food products out there made out of soybeans.


RE: Butanol
By Motoman on 11/19/2013 11:09:32 AM , Rating: 2
Food includes beer and cooking oil. I'm not sure whether or not drugs are made directly from corn or from a byproduct after the corn was used to make other stuff, but that's what the case is with pretty much everythinig else on your list.

Growing a crop of corn to make ethanol for fuel though removes it entirely from that cycle. This isn't hard to understand...you're purposefully being hard-headed about it.

It is an irrefutable fact that the usage of corn for fuel has already driven up the cost of foods across the board, especially beef and other livestock. This *has* happened and you can't claim that it hasn't. Taking cropland out of the foodcycle to make fuel - especially that there's not any good reason to do so - is an act of insanity. Pure and simple.


RE: Butanol
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/19/2013 11:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
Can you feed a kid on beer or cooking oil? Well, you probably could, but the kid won't get much nutritional value from it.

Most uses of corn comes from cornstarch. Once you have extracted the starch from corn, there is no food value in what is left behind - not even for animal feed. In fact is that same cornstarch is what is needed to make ethanol. If you use corn for its starch it stops being food unless you eat that starch directly. It is removed from the food chain every bit as completely whether you make drywall or ethanol from it.


RE: Butanol
By iowafarmer on 11/19/2013 1:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
Distillers grains are one of the byproducts of ethanol production.

nutritional value of maize (corn).
http://www.feedipedia.org/node/11663

nutritional value of distillers grains
http://www.feedipedia.org/node/12850

There seems to be most of the nutritional value of a raw bushel of corn left in distillers grains after ethanol production.


RE: Butanol
By Motoman on 11/19/2013 10:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a shocker: I'm not an expert on drywall. Or most of the other things you mentioned.

If they're truly removing a corn crop from the food cycle, then no rational person can support them either.

It doesn't matter what you do with a food crop, or cropland that could be used to grow food, in a non-food manner...whatever it is, you're decreasing the food supply and increasing food cost.

And that injures EVERYONE.


RE: Butanol
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/20/2013 2:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a shocker for you.

Look at iowafarmer's post just above yours - some very interesting info there that is kinda blowing your entire argument away. We have both assumed that the byproducts from corn used for ethanol distillation is useless & has no food value. Looks like we are both wrong about that.

Corn used to create ethanol apparent can, and is still be used for food afterward *gasp!* in the form of distiller's grain.


RE: Butanol
By Scannall on 11/19/2013 11:03:28 AM , Rating: 2
Sawgrass can be grown in places that food crops cannot be. You don't get as many tons per acre, but if you aren't spending water, fertilizer or valuable food crop acreage then it's fine.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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