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The Renewable Fuel Standard: A Classic Case of Environmental Fallacy [Part 2]

Cody Davis
Contributor: Cody Davis
Posted: 06/23/2013

Refinery Pains & Predicaments

EPA labels affixed to gas station pumps say E15 is safe for nearly all vehicles manufactured in 2001 and newer. However, a three year study conducted by the American Petroleum Institute found that E15 can damage the engines of the majority of pre-2012 vehicles and will void car warranties.

Moreover, the AAA has publicly called for the discontinued sale and use of E15 until more there is more extensive testing on the effects of the fuel blend, better pump labels to protect consumer interests and improved educational efforts about the potential hazards of E15.

A comprehensive study has already determined that more than 50 percent of retail fueling equipment may not be compatible with E15.

Nevertheless, the renewable fuel standard has put refineries in a costly predicament. Because fuel refiners and importers must comply with the RFS biofuel requirements, they are being held responsible for blending a fuel that people do not want to use.

Due to the lack of consumer demand for fuels like E15 and E85, as well as the constraints of the infrastructure necessary to transport, store and distribute fuel, refiners are unable to meet the fuel blend requirements mandated by the RFS.

Meanwhile, all vehicles on the road today are already capable of running on E10, a 10 percent ethanol blend that is currently in widespread use and sold at service stations throughout U.S.

Lower Energy Density, Reduced Fuel Economy & Elevated Fuel Costs

Environmental advocates often claim that ethanol costs less per gallon than gasoline. Although it is true that on a gallon-to-gallon basis ethanol has been historically cheaper than gasoline, the energy density of gasoline is much higher than the energy density of ethanol.

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Cody Davis
Contributor: Cody Davis
Posted: 06/23/2013