Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged that the level of ethanol the government mandates be blended into fuel will soon exceed the level of ethanol that can safely go into the fuel supply — a “tipping point” known as the blend wall.
In order to prevent Americans from hitting the blend wall, the EPA proposed lowering the 2014 mandate. With this proposal came major political pressure from ethanol makers and now the EPA is considering backing down.
So, what is the ethanol lobby’s solution to the blend wall? Surprising to no one, they recommend…more ethanol.
Ethanol companies say that the blend wall can be avoided if more motorists use higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85—which contain 15 and 85 percent ethanol respectively, instead of the standard E10 which only contains 10 percent ethanol.
Unfortunately, this proposal is completely divorced from reality and is also a raw deal for consumers.
- Nonexistent Demand — Americans aren’t buying the flex-fuel vehicles necessary to run on E85, and the ones who do, aren’t filling up with it. Only a mere 5 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicles on the road are able to run on E85 and only 4 percent of those vehicles actually use it. Even by 2022, the Congressional Budget Office expects only 1 billion of the 125 billion gallons of blended gasoline to be used that year will be E85.
- Lower Fuel Economy — Compared side-by-side, ethanol is 33 percent less efficient than regular gasoline. E85 is estimated to deliver 25-30% fewer miles per gallon than the 10% ethanol blend that currently exists in most of today’s gas, which leads us to our final point…
- Higher Adjusted Prices — When the price of E85 is price-corrected for miles per gallon, it is 40 cents a gallon higher than premium gasoline.
…And don’t get us started on the environmental and economic issues associated with ethanol mandates.
Tell Washington not to cave to Iowa – It’s time to reform ethanol mandates.