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Ethanol mandates: Put consumers first

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The API and AFPM, in joint comments on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements, have said that the EPA’s assumptions of growing demand for high ethanol fuel blends are simply wrong. The groups have asked the EPA to limit ethanol mandates to no more than 9.7% of total gasoline demand.

Bob Greco, API Downstream Group Director said, “high ethanol blends, such as E15 and E85, that EPA is pushing are not compatible with most cars on the road today, and they could potentially put American consumers and their vehicles at risk. Consumers have shown they have little to no interest in purchasing increasing amounts of high ethanol fuels. Consumers’ interests should come ahead of ethanol interests.”

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Most cars are only manufacturer approved to use ethanol blends of 10% or less. Extensive testing by the auto and oil industries has shown that higher ethanol blends can damage engines and fuel systems, potentially leaving drivers stranded. Only six out of every 100 cars is equipped to use E85, and even those motorists have largely rejected the fuel the API has found. Ethanol has less energy than gasoline, so a tank of E85, a fuel blend of up to 85% ethanol with 15% gasoline, will lower vehicle mileage and increase the number of fill ups necessary. Data from the Department of Energy has illustrated that E85 costs more money in the long term because of its lower fuel economy.

Brendan Williams, AFPM Executive Vice President said, “AFPM supports EPA’s decision to use its waiver authority to adjust the 2014 and 2015 volumes. However, we strongly disagree with the volumes set for 2016, which will break the 10% blend wall. EPA relies on overly ambitious estimates for how much ethanol consumers want in their gas tanks. Consumers do not want the federal government making decisions for them on the types of fuels they buy.”

In 2014, E85 demand remained flat at 0/15% of gasoline demand, while E0 represented approximately 7% of demand, up from 3.4% in 2012, according to data the API compiled for the Energy Information administration.

Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd

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