Posted November 24, 2014
For months we’ve been pointing out the brokenness of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the federal law requiring ever-increasing use of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.
We’ve written about the impending “blend wall,” the point where the RFS would require blending more ethanol into gasoline than could be safely used as E10, potentially putting motorists at risk for damage to vehicles while also potentially risking small-engine equipment and marine engines. We’ve written about RFS-mandated use of “phantom” liquid cellulosic biofuels – a fuel that hasn’t been commercially available despite the recent inclusion by EPA of landfill bio gas in that category (more about that in a future post). And we’ve written about how the 2014 requirements for ethanol use were months and months late from EPA, caught up in election-year politics.
The RFS is indeed broken. Late last week EPA basically agreed, announcing it’s waving the white flag on trying to issue ethanol-use requirements for 2014, which has just a little over one month to go. Instead, the agency said it will complete the 2014 targets in 2015 “prior to or in conjunction with action on the 2015 standards rule.”
Posted November 5, 2014
A couple of quick observations on issues related to the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
First, the ethanol use requirements for 2014 now are 11 months late. The requirements from EPA were supposed to be issued by Nov. 30 of last year, so that refiners could plan this year’s operations to comply with the RFS’ ethanol mandates. Instead, they’ve been forced to try to divine what EPA might require. Now, with roughly 330 of the year’s 365 days passed, the guessing game turned absurd long ago.
Posted October 14, 2014
A new study by the Aspen Institute joins a series of analyses concluding that one benefit from exporting U.S. crude oil would be lower gasoline prices here at home. Aspen’s projected reduction of between 3 and 9 cents per gallon parallels findings in previous major studies by ICF International (3.8 cents per gallon), IHS (8 cents) and Brookings/NERA (7 to 12 cents) that exports would lower pump prices.
Aspen and the other studies project other benefits from exporting crude oil, including broad job creation, economic growth and increased domestic energy production. Yet the solidifying consensus that consumers also would benefit is critically important as the public policy debate on oil exports continues.
Posted August 11, 2014
API has put together a new infographic that captures the breadth of this administration’s policies – especially an ongoing regulatory push from EPA – that could slow progress that’s being built on America’s energy revolution. (Click here to pull up the PDF.)
Here’s the thrust: The administration’s policies and regulatory efforts are hindering needed energy and economic progress. It is delaying infrastructure, such as pending liquefied natural gas export projects and the Keystone XL pipeline. It is sustaining the broken Renewable Fuel Standard and its ethanol mandates, which could negatively affect consumers and the larger economy. It’s threatening new regulation that would needlessly impact the refining sector, while advancing a stricter ozone standard that would put virtually the entire country out of compliance.
Posted May 15, 2014
Another benefit of America’s energy renaissance is seen in the competitive edge North American refiners are gaining because of lower feedstock costs, resulting from surging domestic crude oil and natural gas production.
The latest “This Week in Petroleum” report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that U.S. and Canadian refiners are in a stronger position relative to European counterparts because of lower costs for domestic crude oil and natural gas, from which they make a variety of value-added finished products.
Posted October 14, 2013
Interesting analysis from Reuters, citing a leaked EPA document in which the agency indicates it may significantly reduce its biofuels mandate for 2014. The same document acknowledges that the refining “blend wall” is an “important reality,” according to Reuters. If accurate, the report suggests EPA is starting to hear what the oil and natural gas industry and a host of other voices have been saying about the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Posted September 27, 2013
Fracking is Helping U.S. Produce More of Its Own Energy
Fact Tank: Though many Americans apparently don’t realize it, the U.S. is producing considerably more of its own energy. Last year the U.S. generated a record 79.1 quadrillion Btu (British thermal units) domestically, nearly 14% more energy than in 2005, largely due to increased production of oil and natural gas.
And with the ongoing boom in “unconventional” oil and gas production, the nation is on track to produce even more energy this year.
Read more: http://bit.ly/175nsA7
Posted May 3, 2013
It’s one thing to have genuine differences over energy regulatory policy – as the oil and natural gas industry has with EPA’s proposed Tier 3 rule further lowering sulfur levels in gasoline. It’s quite another to see that the rulemaking process is being gamed.
Posted April 11, 2013
Nice video below on the “downstream” folks of America’s oil and natural gas industry – the people who run refineries and deliver petroleum products across the U.S.
As the video says, these highly trained workers are the heart of the oil and natural gas industry.
They work in refineries, which support 540,000 good-paying jobs and contribute $268 billion to U.S. GDP, making fuels that literally run our economy and make modern mobility an afterthought for most of us.
Posted April 10, 2013
AEI Ideas – Economic Fact of the Day
According to new Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Midland, Texas, has the lowest metro jobless rate in the U.S. at 3.2 percent. What’s different about Midland, asks blogger Mark J. Perry. The town is in the heart of the Permian Basin oil field’s surging shale production – thanks to hydraulic fracturing.
Associated Press – Energy Secretary Nominee Backs Natural Gas ‘Revolution’
The AP recaps the nomination hearing for Ernest Moniz. During the hearing, Moniz noted the “stunning increase in domestic natural gas production” that has led to “reduced carbon emissions and a dramatic expansion of manufacturing and job creation.”