Friday RFS Roundup – 7/25

July 25, 2014

Back in April, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed labeling requirements for gasoline blends, particularly for ethanol-blended gasoline. This would require fuel makers to release more information on ethanol concentrations to provide greater detail on what consumers are putting in their fuel tanks. With summer driving upon us, we wanted to know what our advocates would put on their warning labels. Check out our Twitter and Facebook to see what they came up with this week.

Learn more from this week:

Chicago Sun-Times,  New Fuel Isn’t Right Mix for Chicago: On Monday, July 28th, Chicago’s Finance Committee will be voting on proposed legislation that would require all Chicago gas stations to offer E15 (gasoline with 15 percent ethanol) at their fueling pumps. In this editorial, the negative effects on Chicagoans ares clearly defined, including E15’s damage on common engines, its cost on motorists and the significant burden this mandate could have on local gas stations. Without any proven market, this mandate is detrimental to Chicago’s motorists and local gas stations.

In Short: “Requiring Chicago gas stations to start offering E15 while other areas don’t is premature for several reasons… The ordinance could place such a big burden on service stations that some of them would close. No stations right now are certified to pump E15 gas. Six stations citywide are set up to pump fuel with even more ethanol than E15, but even they would have to make some changes to comply with the ordinance. The other roughly 400 stations, though, would face costs as high as $300,000 to make the change, according to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. E15 would require new certification for tank systems, pump and line systems. That’s a big financial burden for a product for which there is no proven market.”

The Hill, RFS Props Big Ethanol, Hinders Small Businesses: Charlie Drevna, president of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, discusses the significant impacts that the RFS has on consumers, their vehicles and local businesses trying to meet the market demands. As more and more automakers declare their warranties void with the use of E15, vehicle owners are responsible for the damage that ethanol causes on their vehicles. Moreover, this policy places a significant burden on small business owners who are trying to match consumer demand. However, as ethanol levels increase in our fuel supply, small gas stations are forced to carry this higher blended fuel and could face legal action if misfueling takes place on site. 

In Short: “Outside of EPA’s 2014 proposal, more and more members of Congress are recognizing the numerous problems associated with increasing amounts of ethanol in U.S. gasoline. In fact, more than 220 bipartisan members of congress have expressed support for lowering the ethanol mandate in hopes of addressing the policy’s impacts on consumers, automakers, engine manufacturers and other affected industries. Like Sens. Grassley and Klobuchar, I too urge Washington to ignore special interests. The market, not Big Ethanol, should dictate what’s best for our consumers, businesses and bottom line.”

Platts, The Political Calculations of Ethanol in Iowa and in Washington: In this political analysis, author Herman Wang looks at the role that the RFS plays in U.S. presidential candidacy races. As Iowa hosts the first-in-the-nation nominating caucus, candidate wins are dependent on their endorsement and support of the RFS. Sounds like a case of politics over policy to us…

In Short: “Conventional political wisdom has held that given Iowa’s importance in US presidential contests as host of the first-in-the-nation nominating caucuses, the Renewable Fuel Standard is pretty much unassailable. The federal biofuels mandate enjoys immense bipartisan support in the state, where corn is king. Candidates hoping to curry favor with state voters would need to wholeheartedly endorse the RFS or at least pay lip service to the law while campaigning there. Iowa, after all, leads the nation in biofuels production, with 41 ethanol plants in the state, along with 18 biodiesel facilities.”