TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Renewable fuel standards: Reduce them? End them

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The Environmental Protection Agency's new openness to reducing 2014's ethanol mandate is welcome. But the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) it's part of never should have become law in the first place.

Making an all-too-rare move, the EPA is acknowledging how unrealistic ethanol mandates are in light of the refining industry's “blend wall” reality. With Americans driving less and cars more fuel-efficient, they're burning less gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol, making it difficult for refiners to blend enough ethanol into enough gasoline to meet the mandate.

Yet easing the 2014 ethanol mandate would only reduce — by a bit — the harm done by RFS, without which the corn-based ethanol market wouldn't exist.

Taking more energy to produce than it yields as fuel, corn-based ethanol adds 5 to 10 cents per gallon to gasoline's price, according to The Wall Street Journal. And by diverting about a third of the U.S. corn crop for ethanol, on average, the fuel standards raise costs for food consumers and livestock producers, too.

Some say refiners should address the “blend wall” by upping gasoline's ethanol content to 15 percent. But “E15” lowers fuel efficiency and can damage engines and void vehicle warranties, making refiners and gas stations wary of liability.

Easing the 2014 ethanol mandate would be a step in the right direction — but better to do away entirely with RFS, a failed, market-distorting diktat that Washington never should have issued.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. Mon-Yough Tuesday takes