Ethanol Update: EPA's flawed MOVE model, the RFS and E15

This week’s Ethanol Update contains tidbits on a flawed fuel testing model from the Environmental Protection Agency, the damage cutting the Renewable Fuel Standard will do to air quality, Chrysler including E15 in its vehicle warranties and a successful ethanol promotion in Minnesota small town.

Warning: Flawed EPA model could cripple higher ethanol blends
David VanderGriend, president of the Urban Air Initiative, warns that the Environmental Protection Agency’s new MOVES model is biased against ethanol and will be a major obstacle to higher ethanol blends.

VanderGriend writes:

Unfortunately, this model relies on faulty, manipulated data, resulting in inaccurate emission increases that will cripple any hope for ethanol expansion and the use of higher blends. And, this is taking place as the EPA gets closer to imposing tighter ozone controls, which could put another third of the U.S. into ozone nonattainment, and therefore under federal control. Once that happens, states have to develop a state implementation plan to tell the EPA how they plan to get back into attainment. Here is why the MOVES model matters: When states plug in higher ethanol blends, the model says ethanol raises emissions.

VanderGriend continues by saying that tests were conducted in a laboratory that used test fuels that became synthetic caricatures of how fuels are actually blended instead of real-world consumer fuels. The full piece with all the details can be read here.

Fiat Chrysler approves E15
Fiat Chrysler joins Ford and General Motors to cover the use of E15 in its warranty statements. All model year 2016 Chrysler/Fiat, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles are now covered. General Motors began covering E15 with its model year 2012 vehicles and Ford did the same with model year 2013 vehicles.

Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dineen commented on the Fiat Chrysler decision: “FCA’s decision to join GM and Ford provides clear evidence that the tide on E15 has turned. The automaker’s decision not to embrace E15 had been a major point of concern and tension for the last three years. FCA customers will be afforded a benefit that will likely lower their weekly motor fuel bill: the freedom to choose what fuel to put into their vehicles.”

EPA’s RFS cuts bad news for air quality
According to The Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois, EPA’s decision to slash the Renewable Fuels Standard below what Congress originally intended would pollute the air equivalent to adding 1 million additional cars on the road.

From the report:

Our work has demonstrated that, over the last 10 years, steady reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have materialized as biofuels became a more efficient, high quality product,” said Dr. Steffen Mueller, principal economist at the Energy Resources Center.

The peer-reviewed analysis was conducted using the GREET Model (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) developed by Argonne National Laboratory which examines the full life cycle emissions impacts of energy sources. As part of the analysis, carbon emissions related to the planting, growing, harvesting, transportation and production of corn into ethanol were compared to that of oil recovery and production.

More from the report can be read here.

Lining up to fill up with ethanol
Let’s end this week’s Ethanol Update on a positive note. Farmers Coop Elevator in Bellingham, Minn., held an ethanol fuels promotion event last week. As you can see in this photo, the vehicles were lined up to fill up with E85.



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