By Todd L. Petersen
The latest news regarding ethanol blending comes to us from a recent issue of Hemmings Motor News.
H.R. 1314, introduced by Virginia Representative Robert Goodlatte, actually goes so far as to call for the elimination of the Renewable Fuel Standard.You may recall that the Renewable Fuel Standard, passed in 2005, is what resulted in 10% ethanol being blended into almost all of the gasoline in the US.
It did not “require” all gasoline to contain 10% ethanol. Instead, it made oil companies responsible for getting rid a set amount of ethanol each year. Given the billions of gallons required, it has resulted in almost all gasoline in the US going to 10% ethanol (E10).
In major metro areas, where all the cars are, pretty much all gasoline contains 10% ethanol. However if you’re out in the ding weeds like I am, even in a corn state like Nebraska, finding straight gasoline with no ethanol (E0) has never been a problem.
As unlikely as it may be that either of these bills are adopted, it is at least a step in the right direction.
In the Georgia senate, S.B. 115 forbids all ethanol blended fuels. Senate Resolution 205 asks the US Congress to eliminate requirements for the use of ethanol as a fuel. Ethanol-induced corrosion is specified as the primary reason to ban ethanol.
The Hemmings article indicates the EPA is requiring 19.28 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended for 2017. Even with these numbers, it has become evident over the past couple of years that E0 is beginning to appear in places that had been all 10% blends for many years.
We have lately been seeing a marked uptick in inquiries from places such as New York, New England, and Washington State for autofuel STCs. Exactly where this gasoline is coming from, we haven’t yet been able to determine.
However, it goes to show that if there is a market for something, someone eventually moves to provide it.
We can hope that Goodlatte’s HR1314 will pass, but — at least for now – I recommend against holding your breath.