Friday, December 2, 2016

GAO Predicts EPA Renewable Fuel Failure

The Environmental Protection Agency's renewable fuel program is bound to fail over the next five years, a federal watchdog agency said Monday, citing the low cost of oil and the relatively high cost of green fuels.

The Government Accountability Office released two reports showing that the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard will not reach its 2022 production target of blending 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel per year into the nation's fuel supply, while failing to achieve its greenhouse gas emission reductions.
. . .
"It is unlikely that the goals of the RFS will be met as envisioned because there is limited production of advanced biofuels to be blended into domestic transportation fuels and limited potential for expanded production by 2022," one of the two GAO reports said.

The reports showed that advanced biofuels are the primary sticking point. Under the program, the fuels are expected to comprise nearly half of the total 2022 target. The fuels are also mandated to be lower in carbon pollution than more conventional biofuels such as corn ethanol. But without adequate production, the climate change benefits of the program have been lower than expected.
We can grow enough corn, and make enough ethanol by fermentation to satisfy the demand. However, the promise of easy and cheap fuel from random biomass (cheat grass or algae) has been like a mirage; always on the horizon, and never near.

It can't fail soon enough for me. Corn ethanol has been a disaster from every aspect. It takes more energy to produce than it produces, it's taken land out of wild area to turn into field, it's ruined motors, and it's raised food prices.

But alas, it has been a bipartisan folly, with democrat envirogreenies, and republican farm interests combining to keep this nightmare program alive. And I fear the Trump administration, with it's dependence on mid-west votes, and it's willingness to interfere in markets, is not likely to fix this.

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