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Agricultural News


EPA Blesses E15 for Vehicles 2001 or Newer

Fri, 21 Jan 2011 12:12:55 CST

EPA Blesses E15 for Vehicles 2001 or Newer U.S. Department of Energy testing on the use of up to 15 percent ethanol-blended fuel (E15) has been completed for 2001 to 2006 model year vehicles, leading to an approval today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for E15 use in 2001 and newer vehicles. In October of last year, EPA approved up to E15 for use in 2007 and newer vehicles.

Agricultural groups that support ethanol are expressing delight. Here are several of the comments received through midday Friday.

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Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), released the following statement:

“EPA’s decision today approving the use of E15 in all 2001 model year and newer cars and light-duty trucks is another important step in making more renewable fuel choices available to consumers. ACE continues to be confident that the scientific evidence proves E15 is safe and reliable for all cars, and is disappointed that EPA continues to insist of this confusing model-year division, especially when models earlier than 2000 are being excluded without scientific evidence of any issues with using E15 in those vehicles.

“Practical hurdles must still be overcome, particularly E15 labeling, yet this decision should someday result in additional market access for ethanol-blended fuel and will have a more meaningful impact on moving the demand needle since vehicles 2001 and newer represent nearly 60 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet. To make sure that consumers do not continue to be mislead by those who want to protect the oil industry’s 90 percent gasoline mandate, EPA must also inform consumers that this decision was the result of extensive testing – testing that has delayed this decision nearly two years – and that motorists can feel confident that they can safely use cleaner burning E15 in their vehicles.

“We are pleased with this positive step, but remain concerned about the unnecessary confusion that will unfortunately be caused by EPA’s piecemeal, partial-waiver approach. We restate what we said on October 13, 2010, that EPA should act swiftly to approve the use of E15 in all vehicles. With gas prices set to rise significantly in 2011, more ethanol-blended fuel via E15 will help keep fuel prices affordable for all Americans.

“ACE will also continue to push aggressively for policies that accelerate the roll-out of Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) and blender pumps so that motorists can have more meaningful and cost-effective choices at the pump.”

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The Renewable Fuels Association provided the following News Release:

“Today’s decision greenlights the use of E15 for nearly two out of every three cars on the road today and furthers proves ethanol is a safe, effective fuel choice for American drivers,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. “EPA continues to move in the right direction with respect to increasing ethanol blends, but challenges still remain. The RFA continues to urge EPA to extend the waiver for E15 use to all cars and pickups.”

Today’s announcement will accelerate the timeframe in which most vehicles on American roads will be covered by the waiver. However, given that not every vehicle on the road is being approved, labeling issues and misfueling concerns by gas station owners must still be addressed. The RFA has suggested changes to EPA’s proposed label for E15. Additionally, the RFA worked with gas station owners and gasoline marketers to get legislation introduced in the last Congress to address misfueling concerns (the Renewable Fuels Marketing Act). The RFA will look for opportunities to reintroduce the legislation in the 112th Congress.


As with any new fuel, additional testing and some regulatory issues relating to the fuel’s properties must be addressed before widespread E15 use can occur. The RFA is working to address those issues and accelerate the commercial use of E15.

“EPA’s decision today is a sound one, but it doesn’t address the issues that still remain regarding a segmented market place and the introduction of a new fuel,” said Dinneen. “The RFA will continue to work with EPA and other regulatory bodies to expand ethanol use beyond even 15%. Simultaneously, we will continue our dialogue with lawmakers to develop and implement sound policies that provide the proper incentives to grow ethanol use across a variety of blending levels.”

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Growth Energy provided the following News Release:

Growth Energy announced today that U.S. jobs will be created, carbon removed from the air, and our national security made stronger with a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today to raise the amount of ethanol that can be blended into our fuel from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15) for all vehicles built in the last decade.

The decision today to permit E15 for 2001-to-2006 model year vehicles follows an October decision by EPA to permit blends up to E15 in vehicles 2007 model year and newer. The EPA was responding to a regulatory petition, the Green Jobs Waiver, filed in March 2009 by Growth Energy, America’s leading voice for ethanol supporters and producers.

A full move to E15 creates a bigger market for American ethanol that could help create as many as 136,000 new jobs in the United States and eliminate as much as 8 million metric tons of GHG emissions from the air in a year — the equivalent of taking 1.35 million vehicles off the road. Increasing the domestic, renewable fuel supply would also displace some of the 7 billion gallons of oil that is imported every day into the United States from countries such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, at a cost of more than $300 billion annually to our economy.

“This is a bold move forward, changing America’s energy future for the better,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “Increased use of ethanol will strengthen our energy security, create U.S. jobs, and improve the environment by displacing conventional gasoline with a low-carbon fuel.”

Buis added that with engine and emissions systems testing on cars 2001 through 2010 complete – and showing no issues with using E15 as a fuel – EPA’s approval of E15 should be extended to older vehicles to make continued progress in reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.

“There are many more steps we can take toward achieving our energy security and environmental goals. We commend the EPA and we urge them to continue testing E15 for all vehicles, so that every American motorist has the opportunity to use a blend of fuel that is proven to be better for our economy, our security and our environment.”

The previous E10 standard – which permits up to 10 percent ethanol blended into fuel – was set in the 1970s to help spur the growth of a domestic, renewable fuels industry in answer to America’s first major oil crisis, engineered by OPEC. Since then, the United States has remained addicted to foreign oil; two-thirds of the oil used in this country comes from overseas.

In March 2009, Growth Energy filed a petition with EPA to permit the raising of that regulatory cap on the ethanol blend from 10 percent to 15 percent to displace more foreign oil.

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The National Corn Growers Association also applauded the move by EPA:

“The announcement by EPA this morning is welcome news,” said NCGA Chairman Darrin Ihnen, a South Dakota corn grower. “We have worked closely with EPA during this process and are pleased to see they also realized what our industry has known for a long time: the use of higher blends of ethanol in vehicles is safe.”

Among the benefits Ihnen points out:

· According to a 2009 study, moving to E15 will create more than 136,000 new jobs across America and inject $24.4 billion into the American economy annually.

· By using E10 in much of its fuel today, the United States has reduced its dependence on foreign oil by billions of gallons each year. Increasing the blend level from E10 to E15 can avoid the importation of another 7 billion gallons of gasoline per year.

· Moving from our current blend to E15 means we could reduce an additional 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That means E15 would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing 10.5 million vehicles from the road.

“While there is still plenty of work to be done, NCGA is pleased the EPA has taken this important step forward,” Ihnen said. “NCGA and its ethanol industry allies will continue our work to educate the public on the use of higher blends of ethanol in vehicles.”

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Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union also weighed in and offers the following statement of the EPA move on E15.

“NFU is pleased that, after significant scientific review and testing, the EPA came to the right conclusion by allowing vehicles manufactured between 2001 and 2006 to utilize E15. According to Growth Energy, this decision means E15 will soon be available for approximately 60 percent of the domestic automobile fleet. This is a major advancement toward greater energy independence and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“Today’s decision will also help address the ethanol blend wall by providing greater market access for the ethanol industry and for farmers who produce clean, renewable energy solutions for our country.”


   




 

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