The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is finally urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider raising the amount of ethanol that is blended with gasoline before millions of Americans purchase it at the pumps.
Current ethanol-to-gasoline blends are currently set at 10 percent, but ethanol groups have long urged for the number to be raised to 15 or 20 percent, saying it will help the U.S. ethanol industry grow during a time when producers face declining margins and an extremely competitive market.
Although the USDA and other agencies and researchers can request the EPA to raise the limit, it's up to them to persuade the EPA to try and raise the percentage to something a bit higher. Both sides have just started talking, so the exact number of a new blend hasn't been brought up yet, though it's likely both sides have a number they hope to reach.
In an effort to create the blend itself, Valero Energy offered a bid of $280 million for five ethanol plants that are operated by VeraSun, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. If the deal becomes official, it would mark the biggest ethanol buyout the U.S. has ever seen.
Ethanol maker Archer Daniels Midland recently said around 21 percent of U.S. ethanol production capacity is sitting idle, so the topic of blending ethanol and gasoline will only likely increase in the future.
"I do think it's important for us to look for strategies to make sure the infrastructure of the ethanol industry is preserved, because it is a key component to this new energy future the president's laid out," said Tom Vilsack, former Iowa mayor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture told Bloomberg. "We have been talking to folks at EPA, as they look at the blend-rate issue. That may be one way in the short term to create new opportunities."
quote: A single corn plant only produces ONE good corn stalk if you are lucky and sometimes a second smaller almost useless stalk.
quote: A single corn plant only produces ONE good corn stalk if you are lucky and sometimes a second smaller almost useless stalk
quote: Yes, actual numbers will vary
quote: I'm not interested in supporting specific figures, as I suspect it varies in practice.
quote: I'm saying that it isn't out of the realm of possibility that a substance, even ethanol, might provide a negative energy balance under the right circumstances.
quote: Um, think hard about that. 10% ethanol causes a 20-30% decrease in gas mileage? So you’re saying that, as opposed to getting ANY power at all, ethanol actually makes the other 90 percent of the fuel (the gas) lose energy?
quote: I’ll continue to respond there’s no study available for free
quote: Show me ONE study that shows mpg on 10% ethanol lose above 10%. Not even an average, just one car. I’m talking about a study, not your anecdotal references. If you link me to a study, I’ll quit harping about mpg.
quote: The objectives of the UWM RFG study were to investigate the possibility of excessive fuel economy reduction anecdotes by measuring the fuel economy of various vehicles, using different RFG types and grades and comparing the RFG varieties containing methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE), ethyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (ETBE) and ethanol (EtOH) against conventional gasoline.
quote: The lower 5 and 10 percentiles of the distribution exhibiting the most severe fuel economy reduction showed excessive fuel economy reduction up to 16% and 14% , respectively. The distribution substantiated that a portion of the anecdotal fuel economy complaints may be valid .
quote: I’ll continue to respond there’s no study available ....
quote: Consistent excessive fuel economy reduction or gain correlations were not found between the various driving cycles, vehicle control technology, and RFG blends.
quote: - lower energy per volume (MPG) – True: you lose 1-4 percent on mpg with 10 percent blend
quote: Plus, it’s not renewable. Supply can go nowhere but down. And ethanol is getting cheaper to make every year.
quote: - cross-impact on food costs – False:
quote: False: Ethanol burning itself is carbon-neutral, since the carbon it burns is equal to the carbon absorbed by a corn plant.
quote: There is substation greenhouse gas emissions from the fertilizer used, from the industrial vehicles used to plant, spray and harvest the corn.
quote: Ethanol companies are not raking in the money
quote: In an effort to create the blend itself, Valero Energy offered a bid of $280 million for five ethanol plants that are operated by VeraSun, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection.
quote: Ethanol is not about being "green" [whatever that means]. Ethanol is all about money,
quote: The U.S. Navy controls the sea lanes in order to represent the interests of America, not just to escort oil tankers
quote: Finally, you say that "regular gas is not cheap." I say it is.
quote: When every drop of domestic oil is gone, then debate on your points will have meaning.
quote: it might be more interesting to uncover why exactly we do not want to make use of our domestic oil.
quote: I would suggest that the reasons have little to do with the enviromaniacs; although they have provided great cover.
quote: Why would we need a strong military to maintain the flow of oil?
quote: when last i checked iraq was like #7 on the list of countries we get oil from.
quote: said Tom Vilsack, former Iowa mayor...
quote: and the amount of production per acre is absolutely astounding
quote: Current ethanol-to-gasoline blends are currently set at 10 percent, but ethanol groups have long urged for the number to be raised to 15 or 20 percent, saying it will help the U.S. ethanol industry grow during a time when producers face declining margins and an extremely competitive market .