Blogging For Biofuels

You Can't Play Both Sides

  • Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00

As we get closer to the mid-term elections in November, expect to see ethanol and the biofuels industry-at-large getting caught in partisan crossfire throughout the corn belt states. One such event transpired in Iowa this week.

RFS Decision On The Horizon?

  • Wednesday, 30 July 2014 00:00

For the last seven months, the biofuel industry has been left in limbo with regards to the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014. The fact that it has taken this long has had a negative effect on ethanol producers as well as investments into advanced biofuels. Uncertainty has done the industry no good. 

Chicago Pushes For E15 Availability

  • Tuesday, 29 July 2014 00:00

A big debate has erupted in Chicago over the city's proposal to require many gas stations to sell E15. Proponents for E15 want it to replace the mid-grade 89 octane gas sold in most stations in the city, a move which makes sense considering that E15 blended with 87 octane gas would produce a fuel with an octane rating of closer to 90. And it would be cheaper than 87 octane gas.

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final rule on biofuel consumption for 2014 may be higher than the reduced levels it proposed in November 2013, said Sen. Al Franken, according to various reports today.

Franken reportedly said the EPA would scale back on the reductions it originally proposed but that the final ethanol consumption level for 2014 would still be lower than the renewable volume obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which originally called for the consumption of 14.4 billion gallons of ethanol this year. The EPA, in November last year, proposed reducing it to 13.01 billion gallons.

The Renewable Fuels Association's (RFA) recent report on current practices by oil companies to block the sale of E85 and E15 is nothing short of explosive. While we've all suspected for some time that oil companies weren't necessarily on the renewable fuels bandwagon, this report details specific practices employed by oil companies to block the availibility of E85 and E15.

The report has made a significant enough impact that it has led Senators Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley, from Minnesota and Iowa respectively, to demand a federal probe to investigate the allegations made by the RFA in the report.

Gas Prices Up But Could Be Higher

  • Thursday, 03 July 2014 00:00

Today's Star Tribune ran a story that's been the topic of the month : high gas prices. As the fourth of July weekend approaches, motorists looking to travel up north for the holiday weekend are feeling it in their wallets as pump prices reach the highest point they've been since 2008.

As we've written on countless occasions, the recent spike in gas prices is a direct result of the ongoing conflict in Iraq, although just about any global uncertainty (re: Ukraine), sends traders into a panic and the price of crude oil goes up. Consumers, in turn, feel the pinch (no prizes for guessing who profits from this).

One More Reason Fracking Is Bad

  • Tuesday, 01 July 2014 00:00

As if there aren't enough problems associated with fracking (ie: minor earthquakes, radioactive waste), the Wall Street Journal today reports that Bakken Shale drillers have been burning excessive natural gas that are a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing.

According to the report, drillers burned 10.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas (valued at $50 million) in April which in turn has degraded air quality in towns in North Dakota that are in close proximity to the oil wells.

A new advertisement from Americans United For Change ties high pump prices to the current turmoil in Iraq and argues for ethanol production levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to be maintained.

In particular, the ad urges viewers to notify the EPA to maintain the 2014 renewable volume obligations for ethanol as stipulated in the RFS. The EPA, as widely reported, has proposed to reduce ethanol consumption this year. Watch the video below.