Presses Oil Industry to Support 15-Percent Ethanol Blend
May 4, 2012
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is pressing oil companies to back
fuel-blends that contain less gasoline and more ethanol. He says it
“increase America’s energy security and spur additional job creation,”
particularly in rural areas -- a priority for the Obama administration.
industry support is necessary if high-ethanol blends are to become
industry says it is committed to using more ethanol in its fuel mix,
opposes government mandates.
continues to move forward with its decision to approve the use of 15
ethanol (E15) in gasoline, even though testing to date shows this
concentration would not be fully compatible with much of the dispensing
storage infrastructure at our nation’s gas stations,” the American
Institute said on Thursday.
that contain 15 percent ethanol -- up from the current 10 percent --
major infrastructure challenge. Gasoline pumps will have to be changed,
will car engines.
Thursday, the American Petroleum Institute noted that around half of
gasoline station equipment is not compatible with E15.
these fuels into our gasoline supplies could result in damaged
safety problems, and environmental impacts at our gas stations – to say
about car engines – and it could even erode support for the nation’s
fuels program,” Bob Greco said.
done an inadequate job of answering the many challenges surrounding
particular dispensing equipment and other infrastructure implications,”
fuels mandate passed by Congress in 2007 requires 36 billion gallons of
renewable transportation fuel to be used by 2022. Advanced fuels such
cellulosic biofuel must make up 21 billion gallons of that total.
this mandate will help speed the transition to cleaner, more secure
energy in the transportation sector, helping our nation address the
of climate change, dependence on oil, and job creation,” the
Department said Thursday in a news release. “Increasing the amount of
that is allowed to be blended in the fuel supply of cars to 15 percent
important step in the effort to reach this goal.”
wider use of E15, the Obama administration plans to help gas station
install 10,000 blender pumps over the next 5 years. In addition, both
the Recovery (stimulus) Act and the 2008 Farm Bill, the U.S. Energy and
Agriculture Departments have provided grants, loans and loan guarantees
“spur American ingenuity” on the next generation of biofuels.
requires dependable supplies of feedstock. That means more farmland
devoted to growing corn and other crops for fuel use, something that
boost the cost of food.
says it is helping to build biorefineries, including the first-ever
commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities. It also is “supporting
ranchers, and businesses taking risks to pursue new opportunities in
In a 2010
blog post, an ExxonMobil executive said the federal ethanol mandate is
attempt to manufacture a minimum market for ethanol.
any new transportation fuel, such as E15, is a complicated process,”
Ken Cohen, vice
president of public and
government affairs for Exxon Mobil. “Most engines have not been tested
and it’s possible that vehicle warranties could be voided if vehicles
damage from higher ethanol blends. Additionally, most service stations
have tanks and pumps that are certified for dispensing the higher
blends – and the time required and costs of installing new equipment
said many flex-fuel vehicle owners prefer to use gasoline, which
better fuel economy than high-level ethanol blends.
represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies, has long
forcing high-ethanol blends to market before the market is ready for
be costly to consumers and damage the ethanol industry’s long-term
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