Ethanol lobbyists to petition EPA to raise limit in gasoline to 15%

An ethanol lobbying group urged the US Environmental Protection Agency on March 6 to raise the limit on the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline to 15% from 10%. A coalition of trade associations immediately responded that a thorough scientific review should be completed first.

Raising the level would create 136,101 new jobs and inject $24.4 billion into the US economy annually, according to an economic report released by the group, Growth Energy. "Increasing the ethanol blend up to E-15 is a common sense solution to our economic, energy and environmental challenges," said Wesley Clark, a retired US Army general who became Growth Energy's co-chairman in February.

He said that the group would submit a formal request for a waiver to EPA. The federal agency needs only to determine that ethanol blends up to 15% of gasoline's total volume will not affect vehicles' emission control systems to approve the request, Clark said.

But the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and 12 other organizations and trade associations said that a thorough, science-based review is necessary to make certain that a higher ethanol blend doesn't damage motor vehicle and equipment engines, fuel-handing systems, storage tanks, and pollution control and safety equipment.

"To date, there has not been sufficient testing of motor vehicle and non-road equipment engines, such as outdoor power equipment and marine engines, to determine whether any mid-level ethanol blend would meet current federal air quality protection requirements or be safe for consumers to use," the groups jointly said.

Consumer safety concerns

"In fact, existing test results suggest that mid-level ethanol blends may not only be incompatible with most of today's vehicle and non-road equipment engines, but may actually lead to increases in emissions from these engines over their lifetimes. These test results also raise significant consumer safety concerns, as mid-level ethanol blends may defeat engine safety features and may contribute to engine unreliability and malfunction," they continued.

Growth Energy's petition would come after Congress dropped a similar provision from the Obama administration's economic stimulus package in February before sending it to the White House for the president's signature.

Nineteen organizations, ranging from some of the nation's leading environmental groups to engine and equipment manufacturers and including the American Lung Association and NPRA, asked US Senate leaders in a Feb. 5 letter to reject efforts to raise the ethanol level in gasoline.

"The adoption of such a provision would short-circuit the established and time-tested Clean Air Act regulatory structure for approving the introduction of new fuels and fuel blends into commerce, lead to increased air emissions from gasoline-powered engines, and potentially endanger consumers using those engines," they said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Clark and others at Green Energy's press conference said that ethanol has proven that it can be safely used in gasoline-powered engines since EPA first approved its use. "Vehicle fuel systems have been upgraded over the last 30 years to meet US regulations by rigorous testing against aggressive laboratory test results. These upgrades began in the '80s, which makes virtually all of the US legacy fleet fully capable of handling this relatively small change in marketplace fuel," said Michael Harrigan, a former Ford engineer who is an independent automotive consultant.

The group said that in addition to the economic benefits cited in its study, raising the allowable ethanol level in gasoline to 15% would reduce US imports of foreign oil by 7 billion gallons yearly, cut greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing 10.5 million vehicles from the road, and create a market for second-generation biofuels.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

EIA: US gasoline prices to average $1/gal less in 2015 vs. 2014

02/10/2015 US regular gasoline retail prices are expected to average $2.33/gal in 2015, down from $3.36/gal in 2014, according to the Energy Information Admin...

FERC approves Constitution pipeline to move Marcellus gas northeast

02/10/2015 The Marcellus and Utica natural gas plays have made headlines for years, but moving the gas to end users to the East has not been easy due to a lim...

Marcellus briefs

02/10/2015

Pennsylvania contemplates tax hikes to fix $2 billion deficit

02/10/2015 A severance tax on unconventional natural gas development and production is likely to be part of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's scheduled Mar. 10 bud...

Southwestern Energy buys Marcellus acreage from WPX Energy

02/10/2015 Southwestern Energy Co. agreed to buy 46,700 net acres in northeast Pennsylvania and also some firm transportation capacity from WPX Energy Inc. fo...

Utica briefs

02/10/2015

Continental, South Korean firm to jointly develop northwest Cana Woodford

02/10/2015 Continental Resources Inc., Oklahoma City, formed a joint venture with a wholly owned US subsidiary of SK E&S Co. Ltd. to jointly develop 44,00...

Continental Resources completes more Springer wells

02/10/2015 Wells competed by Continental Resources Inc. last year reaffirmed the repeatability and growth potential of the Springer play in South Central Okla...

Tuscaloosa marine shale pinched by low oil prices

02/10/2015 Halcon Resources is pulling out of the Tuscalossa Marine Shale for now while Comstock Resources Inc. suspended its drilling program there in respon...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

When Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected