An ethanol advocacy group has got an unusual message: having 100 percent ethanol is a better way to cut gas prices and dependency on foreign oil than building the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
E100 Ethanol Group, which is led by a former Ford dealer and a couple of ex-General Motors executives, recently told EPA officials that pushing for 100 percent ethanol as a primary transportation fuel and mandating engines that can run on 100 percent ethanol would improve fleetwide fuel economy, because engines run cleaner, while moving the U.S. away from having to import most of its oil. Even with the XL pipeline, the group says, the U.S. would still import two-thirds of its oil from overseas in 2026.
E100 Ethanol Group is one of the many political, environmental and energy-related entities weighing in on the pipeline as gas prices continue to rise. The Keystone XL pipeline, which is at least two years away from completion, would carry oil from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Republicans have pushed for the pipeline as a way to potentially reduce gas prices; the Obama Administration wants more time to gauge the environmental impact of the project.
Last year, the U.S. federal government ended ethanol subsidies after three decades. The government was paying out an estimated $6 billion a year in incentives in order to boost ethanol production. Some analysts have said ending the subsidies further pushed up gas prices.
Meanwhile, analysts and officials have long debated the environmental benefits of ethanol. Many environmentalists have said using corn as a feedstock has worsened food shortages while potentially worsening waterway contamination from the additional fertilizer required to grow crops.
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich., March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- That was the message the E100 Ethanol Group (E100EG) gave to a panel of EPA/NHTSA officials at a hearing on the proposed 2017-2025 fuel economy standards in San Francisco on January 24th.
Throughout recorded history, the only force that has lowered the price of a monopoly priced commodity is competition. Gasoline is such a commodity.
Supporters of the XL pipeline and increased drilling assume we have to keep using gasoline to power our 250 million light duty (LD) vehicles. This is untrue.
Ethanol is a powerful motor fuel in its own right (witness the Indianapolis 500).
An E100 vehicle is one whose engine has been optimized for ethanol, not gasoline. At the same power level, this engine would have better mileage than gasoline. The ethanol would be sold directly to retail service stations bypassing the pricing control of the oil companies.
E100 costs less than gasoline so customers would flock to these vehicles. We would have direct price competition for motor fuel for the first time in the history of the United States.
The proposed 54.5 mpg standard will not make the U.S. independent of imported crude.
In 2026, we will still be importing 74% of the crude oil we imported in 2011.
The ethanol would be made from crop stover or any cellulose containing waste. CO2 emissions would be lowered dramatically since we would be using carbon already above ground to make motor fuel. Reducing the amount of new carbon brought up from underground is the key to reducing global warming.
Mandating E100 optimized engines would create hundreds of thousands of permanent jobs to make the ethanol, not just the 6,500 temporary jobs to build the XL pipeline.
Brazil went to E100 vehicles years ago. Their economy does not suffer through the constant rise and fall of gasoline prices. Every motor fuel dispenser in Brazil offers gasoline and E100.
The E100EG asked the EPA/NHTSA panel to apply the proposed fuel economy standards to only 50% of the new LD vehicle fleet and to mandate the other 50% be E100 flex/fuel vehicles.
This suggestion would assure complete independence from imported crude oil, cut CO2 emissions by 700 million tons/yr, and secure hundreds of thousands of new permanent jobs.
Contact: Don Siefkes–Executive Director
SOURCE E100 Ethanol Group