AFPM's Laughable Response To E15 Bill

  • Thursday, 15 June 2017 11:34

We knew it was coming. We just didn't think it would be such a joke.

The current E15 bill being reviewed in the Senate has still some way to go but that hasn't stopped the anti-ethanol / anti-science / anti-logic crowd from delivering the usual bogus-filled anti-RFS rethoric. Nothing surprising there.

But what caught us a little off guard today was an op-ed by Chet Thomson, president and CEO of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), who railed against the bill without once refering to the CONTENTS of the bill. 

To recap, the E15 bill in question - the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S.517) - is on extending the reid vapor presure (RVP) waiver to E15 and thus allowing it to be sold during the summer months. At present, the EPA sets the RVP limit ito 9.0 from June 1 - Sept 15 to reduce fuel evaporation from cars and storage and transfer equipment. When gasoline evaporates, it contributes to smog. The PSI for E10 increases by 1 during the summer months but Congress-imposed an RVP waiver for E10 years ago.

The RVP for E15 is similar to E10 but the waiver has not been extended to E15 due to inaction on the part of the EPA and opposition from the oil industry (big surprise).

So that's what the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act is about.

But surprisingly, Thomson's op-ed does not even talk about the RVP or why the waiver should not be extended to E15. Instead, he rambles on about the imminent apocalypse that will be brought on by E15 using some of the most laughable reasons. Surely a vocal ethanol opponent like the AFPM could do better than that.

For example, he mentions in passing of some study by the American Petroleum Institute (API)-funded Coordinating Research Council on the potential for engine damage from E15. Of course, he didn't mention that the "study" came from a group backed by the API. Or, for that matter, when it was published. As far as we can tell, the only "study" the Coordinating Research Council released on E15 was back in 2010, long before the EPA approved E15 for all cars 2001 and newer after extensive testing (over 6 million miles) by the Department of Energy. 

Even more preposterous is Thomson's claim that 90 percent of the cars on the road are not compatible with E15. Seeing as to how over 90 percent of the cars on the road are 2001 and newer, one wonders how Thomson arrived at that illogical conclusion. He also goes on about E15 and marine engines and how the RFS has failed. The entire op-ed is one long - albeit poor - argument against E15.

But this bill is about ensuring E15 can be sold in the summer months. If this bill doesn't pass, all those "catastrophes" Thomson warns us about will still happen as E15 can be sold the other eight months of the year. Has someone not briefed AFPM on what this bill is about? 

Maybe it was Thomson's intention not to discuss the RVP rule in depth because a RVP waiver for E15 would not be needed if reformulated gasoline (RFG) was readily available. RFG is a gasoline blendstock with a lower PSI and using it to blend E15 would meet the EPA's RVP requirements.

In fact, ethanol has a lower RVP than gasoline and the only reason the RVP for E15 increases is because the blending of ethanol and gasoline and the RVP of the gasoline blendstock used. 

Seeing as to how the oil industry could increase the supply of RFG, it's no wonder Thomson failed to mention this. Then again, Thomson probably didn't want to even explain what the RVP is lest it confims the scientific-community's conspiracy that gasoline emits harmful emissions.

We get why the AFPM thinks it had to say something about this bill as no law / policy / regulation concerning ethanol can go unnoticed or unobjected by the oil industry. But sometimes, it's better not to say anything at all. 

As the President would say: Sad.