Forget raising the national ethanol blend in standard gasoline to 15 percent (E15), the Environmental Protection Agency has, for the first time ever, proposed reducing the ethanol requirement in the American gas supply.

The reduction (technically, a not-as-big-as-possible increase) was proposed Friday (PDF) and, according to The New York Times, represents something of a head-scratcher for the ethanol industry, despite being expected. Basically, what's happening is that enough ethanol is being produced to fulfill the EPA's current ethanol requirement. Most of the ethanol is used to make a 10-percent blend with gasoline (E10), and some is used to make E85. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and the Renewable Fuels Standard say an ever-increasing level of ethanol should be used in the national fuel supply, but the EPA has had to adjust the biofuel mix because of the "blend wall." This is the level where we can't pour any more ethanol into the gasoline supply because it would push the overall blend above 10 percent (plus limited use of E85 and E15). Therefore, the EPA is recommending that the US add 15.21 billion gallons of ethanol to the gasoline supply in 2014. That's still within the 15-15.52 billion gallon projected range, but in the lower half. In the proposal's language:

[The] EPA is proposing to adjust the applicable volumes of advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel to address projected availability of qualifying renewable fuels and limitations in the volume of ethanol that can be consumed in gasoline given practical constraints on the supply of higher ethanol blends to the vehicles that can use them and other limits on ethanol blend levels in gasoline.

In other words, since y'all aren't using enough ethanol, we're going to cut back. The move was applauded by the oil industry and scoffed at by many farmers.

Most of the ethanol in the commercial supply is made from corn, but the EPA also regulates cellulosic ethanol, and there the news is even worse for biofuel supporters. The EPA said, "Based on an assessment of the available volumes of cellulosic biofuels, EPA is proposing to set the cellulosic biofuel standard at 17 million gallons, significantly lower than CAA target of 1.75 billion gallons (PDF).

Since this is just a proposed rule, there is still time for the public and private companies to weigh in. The EPA will release details on an upcoming hearing in the future.


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  • 111 Comments
      Matt
      • 7 Months Ago
      All gasoline is not the same, are YOU stupid?
      raktmn
      • 7 Months Ago
      Why don't you just use Stabil for Ethanol before you store them, and save yourself the hassle? Everyone who owns motorcycles knows you have to use a fuel stabilizer specifically designed for gasoline when you store a bike, or you will gum up the carbs. Nobody blames the gasoline for being a bad fuel when they screw up and forget to use a gasoline stabilizer and screw up their own carbs. They man up and blame themselves for failing to use a gasoline fuel stabilizer. Why is it that when you fail to use a fuel stabilizer designed for ethanol, that you blame the fuel? heck, it is even at Walmart, so it isn't like the stuff is as rare as hen's teeth. http://www.walmart.com/ip/17182075?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=3&adid=22222222227009132476&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=13696672030&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=34452147070&veh=sem As for replacing rubber parts, cleaning and rebuilding carbs, replacing fuel lines, etc --- Folks have been doing this kind of work to classic bikes for decades, long before E10. That stuff doesn't last forever, it dry rots even with pure gasoline.
      v6sonoma
      • 1 Year Ago
      They need to eliminate it all except for E85 for the cars that are designed to run on it. This crap is destroying engines that were never designed to run it that are now forced to. I would happily pay more to not have it in my fuel.
        raktmn
        • 7 Months Ago
        @v6sonoma
        All cars in the US have been designed to run on E10, and certified with E10 since 1985. Carb rebuild kits and fuel lines have been E10 safe for decades. Fuel systems even with pure gas become brittle and crack after 3 decades, and are unsafe due to the rubber dry-rotting. Do you think driving on 30 year old dry rotted tires would be safe? Either you car is already designed to run with e10, or your 3+ decades old car is due for regular, normal maintenance of your fuel system, at which time it will have rubber hoses and carb gaskets that are E10 safe. The periodic rebuilding of carbs was part of regular maintenance, like changing a rubber timing belt is today.
          EVnerdGene
          • 7 Months Ago
          @raktmn
          rocketwienie, are Y O U talkin' to me ? Butt I do wish these damn gov'ment wienies would start backin' their noses our of our butts. yeah, same ol'nerd
          EVnerdGene
          • 7 Months Ago
          @raktmn
          raktmn is correct My 2012 Honda CR-Z manual (page 232) says; "Your vehicle is designed to operate on oxygenated gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol by volume. Do not use gasoline containing methanol, , , , "
          EZEE
          • 7 Months Ago
          @raktmn
          Your posts are getting very factual, and not interspersed with your opinion of the person's viewpoint. Officially I am happy about this, however, inside, I have mixed feelings...
      floorman56
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sure let get rid of ethanol Then we can go back to Tetraethyllead and MTBE .. They are MUCH better /Sarcasm
        Jeff Gilleran
        • 7 Months Ago
        @floorman56
        Dude.. That was banned years before ethanol was added as a primary fuel mix to regular gasoline.
          floorman56
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Jeff Gilleran
          Tetraethyllead? yes that's why they started using MTBE but that started to mess up ground water badly so they started to use ethanol. so tell me again If you don't want to use ethanol as a anti ping compound what do you want to use?
          EVnerdGene
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Jeff Gilleran
          @floorman56 1. You can make premium gasoline (higher octane) without lead, MTBE, or ethanol. 2. With modern controls (like knock sensors), we could have engines that run on much less octane than we do. Yes, nobody wants them.
      SooooRight
      • 7 Months Ago
      Ethanol is a sham. Nothing like depriving third world nations of food so we can perpetuate a retarded energy policy. We have all the oil we need, we don't need ethanol.
        yyz
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SooooRight
        You are correct sir!
        Marcopolo
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SooooRight
        @ SooooRight While I agree that Ethanol is a bad product, and even environmentalists shouldn't support replacing an environmentally harmful product like oil, with an even more ecologically disastrous product like ethanol, that doesn't mean that we should continue to burn oil as a transport fuel forever. I believe that by 2020, a significant percentage of vehicles in the developed world will operate primarily by electricity. (Although,some would bet on H2). EV battery and ESD technology is making huge strides in lowering the price of 'batteries' (ESD) and technology like graphene super-capacitors, will extend the range and reduce fuelling times. One the EV is competitive on price, convenience and performance , EV's will replace ICE transport just as gasoline vehicles replaced steam. In the meantime, there's no point in wasting money on obsolete, failed technologies like Ethanol.
      Cruising
      • 7 Months Ago
      I see many FFV equipped vehicles in my area but they just buy regular gas like the rest of us. Might as well be a pointless option to have a FFV car for most consumers. E85 might be cheaper but you get 25-30% less MPG's.
        Cayman
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Cruising
        Yeah, I know someone who has a FFV and he actually uses it, but with the reduced economy he thinks he's pretty much breaking even.
      Indubitably
      • 7 Months Ago
      About time!
      EVnerdGene
      • 7 Months Ago
      @Bernard and sometimes it has been dead wrong
      jebibudala
      • 1 Year Ago
      People tend to forget that any amount of Ethanol reduces fuel economy. That's why it's difficult for *most* uneducated drivers to match the EPA ratings as on the sticker, because manufacturers test with 0% blends. It wouldn't matter so much except (Bush's fault) CAFE legislation demanded fleet averages had to hit 35MPG. In extremely liberal states they would looove to see a minimum of 15% blends, but even with 10% lowers the rated MPG by 3-5%. I don't understand why liberals hate the environment so much.
        edward.stallings
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jebibudala
        "Ethanol reduces fuel economy" - fact. Liberals hate facts, which is why you got voted down.
          EXP Jawa
          • 7 Months Ago
          @edward.stallings
          That's fine for cars that burn E85. In fact, a car/engine specifically optimized for E85 could potentially have better fuel economy and more power than a comparable car burning gasoline. I get the feeling, though, that this wasn't the point. The point is that conventional engine burning E10 or E15 is going to have poorer fuel economy than if it were running straight gasoline, at 87 octane rating. The fact that Edward is referring to is that ethanol has significantly lower heat energy when burned than gasoline has. The result is something on the order of a 25% reduction in fuel economy, all else being the same, ethanol to gasoline. That's extreme enough of a difference that even when blended just 10% into gasoline, it still has a measurable impact on overall economy.
          hugozoon
          • 7 Months Ago
          @edward.stallings
          that can be changed by higher compression ratios in cars can make up for the mpg differance e85 is 110-120 octane.
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the Middle East is destabilized by another oil price collapse, and the US becomes dependent upon cheap imported oil, everyone loses in the long run. Biofuels also need high oil prices. We don't need a replay of 1986.
      mustsvt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thank God. The E10 swill I have to use is bad enough. E15+ brings unknowns in for many older engines. One thing I know it would bring me is worse mileage and more frequent full ups and higher food prices.
      John
      • 1 Year Ago
      Okay, before I get more comments I just noticed I'm confusing methanol with ethanol. Sorryyyy, I'm embarrassed enough. Peace, John (still not nice to call other people stupid though.
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