Big Ethanol muscles EPA

“Three years ago, automakers’ support was crucial for the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act which mandated massive increases in ethanol for the Nation’s gasoline . But back then automakers hadn’t gone into the abyss financially and were looking for ways to sell more flex-fuel vehicles while securing government bailouts. Detroit needed the support of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and the political support of Big Ethanol .

But how times have changed! A few days ago the auto industry urged the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to delay raising the allowable ethanol blend in gasoline from the current 10% to 15% – citing tests which indicate that more ethanol will damage many car engines. EPA signaled last year that it would probably bend to pressure from the ethanol industry and permit the higher blend rates.

Ethanol producers like ADM have been campaigning to reinforce the ethanol mandate by forcing oil companies (and the motoring public) to consume more ethanol. This pressure has been intensified by the introduction of a new association (Growth Energy headed by former general Wesley Clark) combined with existing groups like the National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, American Coalition for Ethanol, Governors’ Coalition for Ethanol, the Ethanol Information and Promotion Council, Corn Refiners Association, National Biodiesel Council and many others — the coalition has practically co-opted “public dialogue” on the subject. Growth Energy alone is reportedly spending more than $2.5 million on an ad campaign hyping ethanol.

As the battle royal shapes up, many drivers of older cars sit helpless on the sidelines. Others are teaming with renegade gas station owners who refuse to convert their storage tanks for ethanol. Signs are emerging along the roadside “No Ethanol in Our Gas!” But it is getting late. If the ethanolics win this round, many cars will be damaged and owners “will be walking, eventually” according to one General Motors executive, C. Coleman Jones, who happens to head GM’s biofuel implementation program. For boat enthusiasts, motorcycle riders and other recreational vehicle owners, the higher ethanol blends could prove disastrous.

Chances of mid-level auto executives blocking the ethanol juggernaut are slim. Never mind that the older cars run fine on so-called “old fashioned (non-ethanol) gas” and those cars may well be the only transport option for many workers who are barely holding on. If EPA folds to ethanol demands this time, the sounds of screeching and clunking will be heard around the world.”¬† “The Threat of E15


3 Responses to “Big Ethanol muscles EPA”

  1. Sean Says:

    There is hope. The EPA knows that corn ethanol is at best neutral on GHG emissions (and the current production method probably increases them) while the ethanol mandates likely lead to more pollution from agricultural run-off. The only reason E-15 has any life is as a leverage to get farm state senator votes. With the climate/energy bill going nowhere, why would the EPA want to advance an E-15 mandate when it cannot be leveraged for its ultimate purpose? Look for the EPA to find a reason to postpone the mandate to a later date.

  2. Galen Beranek Says:

    It sounds like you are a big oil supporter. Why would anyone want to support the middle east oil. They are the ones we are at war with in case you didn’t notice. I think its about time we start being more self reliant and go to E30 or 40. Your argument of cars not running on E15 is hogwash. learn the facts or quit righting articles.

  3. jblethen Says:

    Ethanol is unnecessary, heavily subsidized, produces more CO2 than oil, and lowers food production and raises food prices. If it could compete without subsidies and was not mandated, no problem.

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