Exactly as your bloggers have predicted the past several years, according to industry experts, we’ve finally hit the ethanol blending wall — even if every drop of gasoline produced in the U.S. contained 10% ethanol, the federally-mandated blending quotas cannot be met. As the energy industry’s leading news service Platts reported this past week:
“The industry is clearly at the blend wall,” Stephen Brown, vice president of government affairs for refiner Tesoro said. “Everyone I’m talking to is hitting the blend wall this year — some sooner than others — but we’re all hitting it this year.”
When Congress signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) into law in 2007, conditions were far different, as the article further describes:
When the volumetric blending levels were set for the RFS in 2007, lawmakers, as well as industry representatives, didn’t expect the level of ethanol produced to exceed 10% of the national gasoline supply until much later this decade. But steadily declining gasoline demand coupled with increased fuel efficiency mean that benchmark, called the “blend wall,” will hit this year and, for some refiners, may have already been reached.
Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the EPA has reacted to the changing reality of fuel use in our country, nor to the fact that, as a result of fracking, the United States has nearly achieved the original goal of EISA 2007, energy independence, as this recent article in Forbes describes.
It’s “business as usual” in Washington, which seems to be making a science these days out of driving our nation over a cliff. At a time when we should be seeing a gradual decrease of the price for all fuels including mogas, avgas and Jet-A as a result of increased supply, misguided policies such as EISA 2007 serve to increase the costs of energy and decrease our options. Sadly, unless someone dies, policies such as these get scant attention in Washington D.C., a city that increasingly appears to be out-of-touch with the realities faced by pilots and taxpayers in general.