Sunday, May 31, 2015

US to Go Forward Wasting Food for Fuel

Latest US proposal for ethanol could have political fallout
Under the proposed rule announced Friday, the amount of ethanol in the gasoline supply would increase in coming years, just not as much as set out under federal law. That approach drew criticism from ethanol and farm groups that have pushed to keep high volumes of ethanol in gasoline.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for a robust renewable fuels standard while campaigning in Iowa, host of the leadoff presidential caucuses next year.
A politician going to Iowa supporting corn based ethanol? Well knock me over with a feather.
The 2007 renewable fuels law tried to address global warming, reduce dependence on foreign oil and bolster the rural economy by requiring a steady increase in the overall amount of renewable fuels such as ethanol-blended into gasoline over time.

The new proposal would reduce the amount required in the law by more than 4 billion gallons in 2015 and by more than 3 billion gallons next year.
This is one case where I will gladly support the administration ignoring  the letter of the law.
The EPA said the standards set by the law cannot be achieved, due partly to limitations on the amount of renewable fuels other than ethanol that can be produced.
Sure, they can produce it, but they can't find anywhere to sell it; cars and trucks are already pretty much limited out at E10 (10% ethanol), only a fraction of the vehicles on the road are safe to use with higher blends, and given the limited market, few retailers have higher blends.
Next-generation biofuels, made from agricultural waste such as wood chips and corncobs, have not taken off as quickly as Congress required and the administration expected. Also, there has been less gasoline use than predicted, the EPA said.
Funny how the law can't make science invent things any faster. Making ethanol out of random cellulose like wood and corncobs is not easy, or nature would do it. EPA and Congress thought they could wave their collective hands and turn pi into 3.0.

Turning good corn into ethanol to fuel cars is just a bad idea. It doesn't save much fossil fuels (if that's really the idea); cars running E10 get 3-15% lower mileage, suggesting that the ethanol is almost an inert diluent for gasoline at that blend. The use of corn raises food prices, and deprives the poor of the world of some needed food, and causes additional environmental problems as more area is put under the plow, and more fertilizers and pesticides are required.

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