From GAfuels reader Drew Hatch of Ft. Walton Beach we learned that HB4001, a bill sponsored by Florida State Representative Matt Gaetz to repeal the state’s ethanol mandates, is moving towards a full debate.
According to his comments that appeared this week in an article in CapitalSoup.com, “HB4001 has officially cleared the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee and is one step closer to relieving consumers of Florida’s oppressive ethanol mandate. The next stop for HB4001 will be the House Regulatory Affairs Committee. I look forward to working with the committee members and to sharing with them the overwhelming evidence provided by business owners and constituents throughout the state.”
A related article from The Florida Current provides some background on the existing laws concerning ethanol in Florida.
As your bloggers have frequently noted, removal of such mandates will still not guarantee that consumers will find an ethanol-free option at gasoline stations. Oil companies are required, under the RFS2 ethanol blending mandates resulting from the EISA 2007 Act passed by Congress, to blend ever-increasing volumes of ethanol annually into our nation’s gasoline supply, whether consumers want the fuel or not. As described in this article from the NY Times, this has led to the absurd situation for the past several years of gas companies paying fines for not meeting the quotas for cellulosic ethanol (produced from sources other than foods such as corn or sugar cane) since the production of it falls far short of the mandates. These costs inevitably must be passed on to consumers.
Worse yet, as this USNews article reports, the EPA recently announced its latest ethanol quotas, raising them yet again, despite stagnation in overall gasoline sales and no substantial increase in the supply of cellulosic ethanol. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
We encourage our readers to contact their state representatives, as Drew Hatch has done, to educate them on the need to ban the use of ethanol in premium fuel. This would preserve an ethanol-free option for consumers who need it, for instance pilots, while not infringing on the federal ethanol mandates which, given current consumption trends, must be modified or repealed altogether.
After all, the primary purpose for EISA 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act, has already been achieved through the dramatic increase in oil and gas reserves in the U.S. in recent years thanks to fracking and directional drilling.