The petroleum industry has been doing everything that it can relative to the Renewable Fuels Standard except comply with it.
It is exhausting its judicial and legislative means to destroy it in order to defend its market share of a shrinking motor fuel market.
The RFS is a fixed-use mandate of a fuel component against declining demand for the total product.
Some in the oil industry have talked about accepting an E-10 mandate replacing what we have now because they would be conceding to lose no more than 10 percent market share.
The way it is now their market share will continue to erode.
Renewable Identification Numbers can be used to satisfy the RFS blending requirement. The market for RINs is likely being manipulated.
ISU Economist Bruce Babcock confirmed what the ethanol industry has been saying for some time that instead of fighting to kill the RFS that the mandate can be satisfied by larger commercialization of E-85.
The corn-based 15 billion gallon RFS can’t be fulfilled without higher ethanol blends. The blend wall hits short of E-10.
The petroleum industry has told every lie that it could to stop commercialization of E-15 which would provide the market access to fulfill the corn-based ethanol RFS without RINs.
It would take E-25 to provide the market for the entire 36-billion-gallon RFS.
That is the fuel blend that they use in Brazil so it is logistically and technologically realistic, but would likely fuel an attempt by the oil industry to overthrow the U.S. government to stop it.
Babcock said that 2,500 stations with blender pumps offering a choice of E-85 would provide the market for 800 million to 1 billion gallons more ethanol.
USDA was providing incentives for stations to add blender’s pumps and the oil industry politicians have been trying to stop that too. Babcock’s study says that putting in blenders pumps to comply with the RFS is cheaper than buying RINs.
The blend wall is a much bigger issue to the cellulosic ethanol industry than it is to the corn-based ethanol industry.
There technically is no market for cellulosic ethanol until the blend wall is solved. There is some anticipation that we will see more ethanol exports next year. China should be importing U.S. ethanol to help clean its filthy air.
The pivot point we are at is to find out whether the oil industry is ready to start focusing on complying with the RFS with E-15 and E-85 blend pumps or continue to fight it by bidding up RINs while claiming that they make RFS is unworkable. It is not unworkable.
The RFS was designed to weigh the incentive toward petroleum companies complying with the law which is within their means and path of least resistance to do.
To date they have refused to concede, doing battle by all means available to them. While Valero and others complain about the RINs, they are doing exactly what they were intended to do, provide the incentive to blend more ethanol.
RIN prices coincidentally ran up right ahead of key congressional committee hearings last July and the ethanol industry believes the timing and price was manipulated for greatest political advantage.
When Congress went into recess RIN prices plummeted as there was no other reason for them to have gone up that much in the first place.
The cost of RINs only represents the cost to the few gallons the RINs are specifically applied to and are not representative of the cost of all blended fuel.
In fact, “Energy Economist Philip Verleger said the renewable fuels program has reduced annual consumer expenditures in 2013 by somewhere between $700 billion and $2.6 trillion.” Based on that estimate, the RFS saves consumers between 50 cents and $1.50 per gallon.
Verleger’s analysis shows crude oil prices are between $15 and $40 per barrel lower than they would be without the RFS.”
The oil industry has first had to buy an anti-ethanol disinformation campaign, explore every legal means to overrule the RFS, as well as buy every politician the oil industry can find for sale in Washington to undermine the RFS legislatively before complying with it.
It is enough now. It is also enough for all the lies about ethanol.
Bobbi Likis, a mechanic with more than 40 years of auto service experience and host of the nationally syndicated radio auto show, Car Talk, speaks about his personal experience with ethanol and auto engines in a new video saying that:
“The fact is, that ethanol does not ruin engines. Of the 200,000 engines I’ve serviced, not one has been damaged by ethanol, not one.
“In fact, engines thrive on high octane and ethanol has it.”
The risk to engines has been hyper-bloviated by the petroleum industry and its allies for commercial purposes not because they truly are concerned about your vehicle.
It is time for Big Oil to install blender’s pumps, add more ethanol and comply with the RFS as the law requires.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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