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

DOE official: LNG exports could be limited by silt-clogged waterways, ports

07/16/2015 Silt, which is increasingly filling US waterways and ports, potentially could limit US LNG exports if it is not dredged soon, a top US Department o...

S-Oil lets contracts for Onsan refinery, olefins projects

07/16/2015 S-Oil Corp., Seoul, has let a series of contracts to Axens to supply technology for a residue upgrading and capacity expansion project at its 669,0...

Mexican round nets two successful bids

07/16/2015 Two of 14 shallow-water blocks received successful bids on July 15 in Mexico’s historic Round One offering of exploration and production rights (OG...

KMI brings second Texas condensate splitter online

07/15/2015 Kinder Morgan Inc., Houston, has commissioned the second of two splitters at the company’s new petroleum condensate processing facility located nea...

Michigan DEQ report urges ban of heavy oils in Mackinac Straits pipeline

07/15/2015 Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality’s Petroleum Pipeline Task Force issued a report that recommended that heavy crude and oil sands be k...

PHMSA orders Plains All American to keep Illinois pipeline shut down

07/15/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action order directing Plains All American Pipeline LP to keep a ...

Fire hits at LyondellBasell’s Berre petrochemical complex

07/15/2015 An investigation is under way into the cause of a fire and subsequent explosions that occurred on July 14 at LyondellBasell’s Berre petrochemical c...

Advocates urge US to end its crude export ban in Iran agreement’s wake

07/15/2015 Advocates called for removing the US ban on exports of domestically produced crude oil in the wake of the July 14 international nuclear weapons agr...

Poland’s Grupa Lotos lets contract for Gdansk refinery upgrade

07/15/2015 Grupa Lotos SA, Poland’s second largest refiner, has let a contract to KT-Kinetics Technology SPA, a subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont SPA, Milan, for ...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

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
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

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

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


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