Ethanol repeal efforts make progress

Further evidence that consumers demand an ethanol-free alternative has been provided in recent weeks by actions at both state and federal levels. As reported by this blog on Feb. 20, Florida State Representative Matt Gaetz has led an effort to repeal his state’s mandates on the use of ethanol blends in vehicles.

While off-highway use, for instance in aircraft, was exempted from these mandates, their presence caused a massive shift in the gasoline supply chain for Florida, making it very difficult to find ethanol-free suppliers. GAfuels reader Drew Hatch of Ft. Walton Beach sent us the news last week that HB 4001 and SB 320 passed in the Florida Legislature and the repeal is expected to receive Governor Rick Scott’s signature soon.

While this is good news for mogas users in Florida, it does nothing to curb the influence of the federal ethanol mandates that are flooding our nation’s supply of gasoline, even though most experts now agree that we have hit the so-called “Blending Wall,” a situation whereby even with every drop of gasoline sold containing 10% ethanol, the federal mandates cannot be met. The resulting impact on the cost for blender credits and the higher price we’ll pay for the fuel was recently described in this Wall Street Journal article.

It appears that a few members of Congress have begun to realize that continued compliance with the EPA’s ever-increasing, unachievable blending quotas can only result in higher costs to consumers, bad news in our continued fragile economy. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of House members led by Bob Goodlatte of Virginia introduced a bill to repeal the current federal ethanol mandates, as reported by Bloomberg News:

“Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, and a bipartisan group of legislators introduced two bills. The first would repeal the U.S. ethanol mandate and the second would revise the definition of renewable fuels to include only advanced biofuels and exclude corn-based ethanol, Goodlatte’s office said. The Renewable Fuels Standard passed in 2007 started out with good intentions and turned out to be a “very dumb” idea, said Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, who said the mandate has raised costs for dairy farmers in his state.”

That many consumers seek an ethanol-free alternative can be seen in the steady rise of sellers, shown best in this chart at Pure-Gas.org.  Having passed through the 6,000 mark last December, we’ll likely see some 7,000 sellers on this list soon, still representing fewer than 10% of the nation’s approximately 110,000 gas stations.

While we are still far from seeing the day when the more affordable option of lead-free, ethanol-free mogas is as common at our airports as in Europe, actions such as those from Representative Gaetz and Congressman Goodlatte do give one hope for optimism.  For those who claim that nothing can be done to change the current ethanol policies in our country, one should follow the lead of these two gentlemen and those who support their legislation.

Related posts:

  1. EPA dramatically scales back ethanol mandates
  2. Pure-Gas soars through 6,000, ethanol production drops
  3. Why can’t I find ethanol-free fuel?
  4. BP gives up on cellulosic ethanol
  5. Ethanol: It will get you coming and going
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