Reading Ben Visser’s blog, More questions about ethanol, reminded me that December is the month the EPA is supposed to set the ethanol quotas for the next year.
For the first time in several years, the EPA has published the quotas in accordance with the schedule set in the law EISA 2007. The EPA Final Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017 can be found here at the EPA website.
Suffice it to say, the upbeat tone of the announcement masks the serious problems with mandating ethanol blending into the nation’s auto gasoline supply.
There are a number of ironies in this announcement, but to give you a little insight into the absurdity that abounds, I’ll present just one fact.
EISA 2007 mandated that the amount of renewable fuels that must be blended into our fuel supply shall be 24 billion gallons in 2017 (See page H.R. 6-31), yet this announcement specifies that only 19.28 billion gallons shall be blended.
If you want more information about this divergence, you might peruse this article in the Ethanol Producer Magazine. Be warned, there is a lot of gobbledygook in the article, but ethanol production isn’t working out as planned.
I hear you. You’re asking: What the heck does all this have to do with the disappearance of mogas from the aviation fuel supply?
Well, the answer is the availability of ethanol free unleaded auto gas (E0) may be coming to an end in the U.S., and unleaded auto gas without ethanol is an approved aviation fuel, what we in aviation call mogas.
There are currently 113 airports in the U.S. that make mogas available, to say nothing about the thousands of pilots that purchase E0 at a corner gas station and self-fuel their aircraft. I’m one of them.
According to this article in Hemmings Daily, the days of ethanol free auto fuel are numbered. The EPA wanted to do away with it in 2017, but that doesn’t appear likely.
If you don’t want to take the time to read the article, here is the pertinent quote: “Despite worries that the Environmental Protection Agency would put an end to ethanol-free gasoline sales with its Renewable Fuels Standard ruling for 2017, the agency permitted E0 a reprieve at the same time it declared its intention to transition the entire nation’s fuel supply to E10 and above.”
So we’ve been warned. (Actually, there are some scarier pronouncements in the article. You should read it if you use mogas in your airplane.)
I want to thank Todd Petersen, of Petersen Aviation, for alerting me to the Hemmings article, which reminded me that this was the time of the year for the EPA to set ethanol quotas for the coming year and I needed to do my annual research on ethanol quotas required by EISA 2007.
This will be my last GAfuels blog. I want to thank the Sclair family for the opportunity to contribute to their fine publication and Editor Janice Wood for her support and editorial assistance. Todd Petersen has agreed to contribute GAfuels blogs in the future.