Lawmakers seek study of higher ethanol cap

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 11 -- Two leading US House Republicans have asked the Government Accountability Office to explore the impact of allowing more ethanol in gasoline.

Joe Barton (Texas), the Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking minority member, and Greg Walden (Ore.), who fills that post on the Oversight and Investigations Committee, made their request in a Dec. 9 letter to Gene Dodaro, GAO’s acting comptroller general.

The Environmental Protection Agency expects in mid-2010 to determine whether to raise the allowable ethanol content in gasoline to 15% from 10% in response to a request from Growth Energy, a biofuels industry association.

Barton and Walden said in their letter that an August GAO report, “Biofuels: Potential Effects and Challenges of Required Increases in Production and Use,” identified a number of challenges.

“Current automaker warranties on vehicles are voided if ethanol exceeds 10% of motor fuel,” they told Dodaro. “There are also concerns that higher blends, or even E10, as the GAO noted, could damage nonauto engines, such as boat engines and small engines for equipment such as lawn mowers, chain saws, and small tractors.”

Most gasoline distribution and storage systems are designed to dispense and store products with up to 10% ethanol. “Leak detection technologies used in underground storage tank systems have been developed for use for petroleum fuel and would need to be tested for performance with higher [ethanol content] fuel blends,” the lawmakers said.

Barton and Walden said another strategy which GAO identified was greater use of vehicles running on fuels with 85% ethanol and the development of related infrastructure, such as dedicated ethanol pipelines to transport ethanol from the Midwest to markets on the East and West coasts; dedicated tank system for storing E-85; and specialized pumps and dispensing equipment.

“As with increasing ethanol blend percentages, this strategy also may involve substantial costs and liabilities that have not yet been fully assessed or estimated,” they said.

They suggested that GAO investigate the extent of the federal government’s risk and associated liability if it allowed the use of intermediate ethanol blends which damaged vehicles and other equipment and systems, the key components of the nation’s motor vehicle and equipment fleets most at risk, durability and performance of vehicles and equipment with intermediate ethanol blends, and economic and other challenges to using dedicated ethanol pipelines.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Western Australia’s EPA approves Gorgon LNG fourth train

03/04/2015 The Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia (EPAWA) has approved plans for expansion of the Gorgon-Jansz LNG project on Barrow Isla...

Bear Head LNG requests DOE permits to export US natural gas

03/03/2015 Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd.’s wholly owned subsidiaries, Bear Head LNG Corp. and Bear Head LNG LLC (USA), have filed an application with the US Depa...

Pennsylvania governor proposes natural gas severance tax

03/03/2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $29.9 billion budget on Mar. 3 that includes $2.5 billion of net tax increases for fiscal 2016, including a 5...

Shell moves to business-as-usual plan for strike-impacted refineries

03/03/2015 As the United Steelworkers union (USW) strike enters its fifth week, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which serves as lead company for National Oil Bargainin...

BOEM proposes lease sale for western Gulf of Mexico

03/03/2015 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development, i...

Shell Canada withdraws application for Pierre River heavy oil project

03/03/2015

Shell Canada Ltd. has withdrawn its regulatory application for the proposed Pierre River heavy oil mine north of Fort McMurray.

Report notes strong Saudi fiscal ‘buffers’

03/03/2015 Saudi Arabia has fiscal buffers enabling it to cover projected deficits while oil prices are low for at least 4 years and perhaps more than 8 years...

MRPL commissions unit at Mangalore refining complex

03/03/2015 Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) has started the process of commissioning an integrated polypropylene unit at its refinery in Ma...

Update of earlier NAM study still finds EPA ozone proposal costly

03/02/2015 The US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 65 ppb ozone standard could reduce US gross domestic product by $140 billion/year and create $1.1...
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


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


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

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