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  • Tales of the Red Tape #2: The EPA is Fueling Nonsense

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is suffering policy schizophrenia. On the one hand, it has ordered automakers to increase fuel efficiency to save the planet from global warming. On the other hand, it is setting higher quotas of ethanol in gasoline, which will decrease fuel efficiency and increase emissions of the greenhouse gases that the EPA claims cause global warming.

    Both actions will cost consumers and the economy a bundle.

    The stricter fuel-efficiency standards require automakers to attain a fleet-wide average fuel economy level of 34.1 mpg by model year 2016 for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles. The rules—running some 300 pages—dictate fuel efficiency standards by model type, weighted by sales volume. The re-engineering required for compliance will add $1,000 or more to the sticker price of passenger cars.

    Meanwhile, the agency is expanding the allowable proportion of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. Because ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline, the higher quota will reduce fuel efficiency by an estimated 5 percent to 30 percent per gallon, depending upon the vehicle model. It will also increase the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to producers of the fuel and dramatically hike demand for corn, which will raise the prices of corn sweeteners, starches, syrup, oil, and livestock feed. The resulting spike in food prices will increase government spending on food stamps and child nutrition programs—by $1 billion a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    There are significant environmental costs as well, according to some researchers. For example, two studies published in 2008 by the journal Science reported that the cultivation of corn for ethanol and other biofuel feedstocks substantially increases emissions of the greenhouse gases that are supposedly causing climate change. One of the studies calculated that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20-percent reduction, nearly doubles greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years. The excess emissions result from land conversions that are driven by demand for corn and other crops used to produce “renewable” fuels. According to the researchers, soil and plants together store 2.7 times more carbon than is present in the atmosphere. Thus, burning and plowing grasslands, rain forest, savannas and peat land for crop cultivation releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Moreover, the loss of plants and soil reduces the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that otherwise would occur.

    Lower fuel efficiency, higher food prices, more corporate welfare and environmental degradation—your EPA at work.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    30 Responses to Tales of the Red Tape #2: The EPA is Fueling Nonsense

    1. Pat, Saginaw, MI says:

      I would like to try to dispel some of the myths associated with ethanol production. I am concerned that conservative research (which I mostly read because I trust those opinions) is flawed and fueled (no pun intended) by food industry and gas and oil industry sources that are just plain wrong.

      I attended a meeting today put on by POET, Caro, Michigan,'s ethanol plant. Ethanol is clean, green, and cheaper than gas. Ethanol has not been heavily subsidized. Please, can you tell me when the last time you heard about gas and oil subsidies? Do you know the oil and gas industry is subsidized 20% more than the ethanol industry. Also, NASCAR just signed up to promote ethanol in racing- do you know who had promoted it before? CitGo, which is owned by non other than Mr. Chavez of Venezuela. The oil industry outspends the ethanol industry by huge amounts when it comes to PAC donations. The oil and gas industry has the luxury of their tax credits built into the tax code. Ethanol credits have to be revisited and renewed (or not) every year.

      In the March 2010 issue of Top Producer it says that “80% of farm expenses are connected to oil”, meaning the cost that farmers use to drive tractors and other farm equipment, not to mention all of the other supporting industries that farmers depend on like equipment repairs, seed companies, fertilizer companies, etc. Top Producer then goes on to say “What if we have $200 oil?” This is just one industry I’m speaking of. What about the rest of the country? We depend almost entirely on foreign oil! Right now the United States has ethanol production that is clean and efficient and people are still relying on the myths that seem to want to destroy this emerging industry.

      I am asking you today to do more research and read the disputed myths that seem to not want to go away. A good place to start is http://www.growthenergy.org/

      Please support ethanol- it means less dependence on foreign oil, it’s home grown in America, it provides countless jobs for Americans, and did I say it means less dependence on foreign oil?

      • nick says:

        why is it i have heard from mechanic after mechanic not to use ethanol it destroys engines i choose to use pure gas and get superior millage and performance over ethanol. and if your concerned about dependance on oil the solution is simple drill here in the U.S.

    2. Pingback: The EPA is Fueling Nonsense – Heritage.org (blog)

    3. George Colgrove VA says:

      I had an 82 Ford EXP that I nursed back to health. Before having an accident with it, I was getting over 32 MPG. I bought another Ford Escort (86), this time a 4-door hatch back. This car gave me over 40 MPG. The engine was the same 9-liter, four cylinder, and carbureted engine. The vacuum hose assembly involved one major hose with a few off branches. I then bought a 92 Ford Escort – brand new – same engine and same size car. This one had fuel injection, a massive network of vacuum hoses, and all the environmental controls one could imagine. My gas mileage dropped down to just over 30 MPG.

      These environmental controls are wrecking havoc with gas consumption. Well today, I have a Ford Focus (the successor to the Escort) and can get almost 40 MPG. I can only imagine if they take all the environmental controls out of that car, what gas mileage I could get.

    4. Jim, NY says:

      Ms Katz has adopted the wrong premise in evaluating the actions of the EPA. They have nothing to do with fuel efficiency and little to do with clean air. Their goal is to crush industry in every way in order to eliminate the use of fossil fuel, including uranium, entirely.

      The delusion that prevails at the EPA is that the day will come when they will have completely outlawed energy from fossil fuels, a sunny day and a breeze is all the energy you will be allowed to use, our standard of living will be reduced to little more than subsistence levels – except for those in charge, of course – and they will dance 'round the maypole singing kumbaya with glee.

      The EPA needs to be abolished.

    5. Allan Miller Commerc says:

      Not sure but does the cost of producing 1 gallon of ethenal save anything once you concider the loss in miles per gallon? How much in subsidies do the farmers get from the feds/ststyes per acre for producing corn and when these costs are considered what is net savings of prodicing a gallon of ethonal. Our govt. needs to use net budgeting to get to the real costs of govt.expenditures. Subsidies need more attention. When a consumer ( citizen) spends $ on fuel they must add all the subsidies and lobby costs to get the net net of govt. abuse.

    6. Corky, Howey in the says:

      Just who is running this Country? We have a Congressional hearing on this or that subject.. Then, they have (professional) people come in and talk to a bunch of senators, who don't have a clue as to what they are listening to and then they in turn "make policy" for the rest of us. For that we pay more taxes. Then it starts all over again. Hey obama you only have a little over a year left before the American people get rid of you… I can hardly wait.

    7. William Downey, Worc says:

      Let us not forget that to generate corn based ethanol reqires an extensive amount of electical energy. Also, since the majority of UST's and fuel pumps are not designed for E-15, the DOE is warning that tank and pump failures are highly probable. So for clean air we get to gamble on UST's and by extension AST's and fuel pumps failing and leaking gasoline into the environment. Only at the Environmental Protection Agency, apparently the home of Catch – 22, would that make sense.

    8. Mark, Alexandria says:

      EPA can mandate these higher standards because the CAFE standards have been corrupted by the ethanol lobby. Vehicles that can run on alternative fuels get an obscene increase from actual gas mileage for CAFE calculations. A 'Flex-fuel' vehicle that gets 15mpg on E85 actually gets credit for 100mpg for CAFE, that number is then averaged against the gasoline mileage to get the CAFE number for that model.

      Only Washington could think this makes sense.

    9. Perry, OK says:

      I live in on a dirt road. In fact I have lived on dirt roads most of my life. Dust is a pain in the air. But the FOOLS in the epa want to regulate it? Ok show me the funding! Oh yeah how about the farming community,NO DUST,NO FOOD. I personally believe the people in charge of our great nation have washed their hands to much.they don't have any good bacteria left.

      I will suggest you get off your arce and out of your air conditioned office and take a trip outside the beltway.I bet you will find a better class of people and a breath of fresh air.That smell of.spring you feel,is because of dust,pollen, and all sorts of things good for you. Just remember to go back to your desk and start doing GOOD things,that is what we pay you for!

    10. Cincinnati OH says:

      Though I can't speak for the logic of the EPA or Obama administration, I do have first hand knowledge of the ethanol industry. Since the current administration has swallowed the claims of the global warming crowd without question, it creates the existing policy conflict. In actuality the greater problem facing the US relates to energy independence and related national security and balance of trade problems. The current unrest in the Arab world should only serve to focus out attention.

      If energy independence and not global warming is the problem then the solution(s) is completely different. Higher domestic oil exploration and production, mileage standards, renewable fuels, natural gas vehicles, electric vehicles, etc. all become part of the solution. If global warming is the problem then the only long term solution is electric vehicles and more nuclear power. It is highly unlikely that Washington will ever make a rational decision relating to nuclear power, as the technology currently exists, especially after recent events in Japan.

      Truth be told, $150 crude in 2007 probably had more to do with the collapse of the US housing market and the global economy than all the other lame excuses coming out of Wall Street, Washington and…..Hollywood.

      So, in summary. You can't develop a solution until you identify the problem. And like Charlie Sheen, the left isn't able to admit what the problem really is. They just keep blaming everyone else.

    11. Les in SC says:

      Concerning EPA's decision to allow over 10% ethanol in automobile fuel. What about people that drive vehicles that are not rated "Flex-fuel" like the newest vehicles built by the manufacturers in the US? Those vehicles will not run on 15% ethanol. Is this "Cash for Clunkers" part two without the cash paid to the owners of such vehicles? I don't know about anybody else but I am sick and tired of watching this president play his games with the laws of this country. Everything he or his administration says or does turns out to have a hidden meaning. They are constantly trying to run "end around" plays trying to get around every obsticle no matter what it is. Other countries, governments, congress, Federal Judges,or the Constitution! 2012 can't get here fast enough!

    12. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      If you consider from where the EPA get it's marching orders, it makes perfect sense. It's Obama's ideology and agenda to destroy our economical system of

      capitalism in favor of socialism.

    13. Mark, VA says:

      CAFE standards have been corrupted by the ethanol lobby. 'Flex-Fuel' vehicles are allowing everyone to cook the books.

      A 15mpg vehicle capable of running E85 gets credit for 100mpg in CAFE calculations. That inflated number then gets averaged against the gasoline (or as I like to call it, real) mileage to get the CAFE rating for that platform. You could have a vehicle that gets 15mpg for E85 and 20mpg gasoline rated at 60mpg for CAFE.

      Only in Washington.

      Its a self-licking ice cream cone. Moonshiners want more ethanol subsidies, EPA really doesn't want any new cars on the road and car manufactures are happy to slap a flex-fuel sticker on the back of every SUV rolling off the lot.

      We end up with more pollution, higher food prices and cars slightly bigger than my old Radio-Flyer.

      Time to go buy a diesel, but American automakers don't make any.

    14. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Do you all mind if I just call it a High Crime? You know what the EPA does all day long every day? Going after Americans! There is no threat whatsoever from Man Made Carbon Emissions (other than the Progressives using them to cause Disaster!) This is Junk Science AND a Cover Up! It is a High Crime, Constitutionally for Communist Enemies of the State to usurp Representation and establish Dictatorship at the EPA! I think it is a High Crime that they shut down the San Juaquin Valley! Just before a World Wide Food Crisis? I think it is a High Crime that EPA promotes Ethanol when it worsens the Crisis and boosts the price of Food! All across the board! What? Are they Engineering Starvation?

      Impeach the actors at EPA and Defund the EPA for Crimes Against Humanity! "So long and thanks for all the fish!" We can stop the next batch of High Crimes, destroying American Industries! Evil.

    15. Steve_V says:

      This article fails to recognize the term efficiency. Efficiency is energy in to work out. Ethanol, like any other energy is gauged on a unit of energy. It is not until you take it to a volume, can you say ethanol has less energy. Today, most agree the energy balance for ethanol is right around 2 to 1. This means that on a volume, we can produce 2.95 gallons of ethanol for every gallon of gasoline.

      Also remember we don’t displace gasoline but the gasoline component called aromatics, the most expensive part to a gallon of gasoline. Though consumers don’t see this at the pump, the 10 percent ethanol lowers the 90 percent gasoline cost by 20 to 30 cents. This value along can offset the cost per mile many think they are losing since they don’t see it.

      Ethanol is 10 to 15 percent more efficient in cars today but remembers there is a 30 percent energy difference. Most consumers don’t realize that internal combustion engines are not very efficient. Only 25 percent of every gallon put in your tank actually is put to work, the rest is mostly wasted heat energy

    16. Tim AZ says:

      Diane Katz has thoroughly laid out how the EPA and this regime are doing everything possible to maximize the financial burden on an already failing economy. By studying these actions from a conservative view point one certainly would conclude that the EPA in cooperation with the regime are likely suffering from a mental disorder. However if one considers these actions through the mindset of a socialist, the conclusion one would mostly likely arrive at would be that these actions are intentional and have been successfully used in the past in other countries of the world to bring about communist, socialist, and marxist totalitarian governments. Since we now know that most of the czars and govt. agency heads appointed by the POTUS share the ideology of communism, marxism, or socialism, Not to mention the book written by the POTUS titled dreams of my father, there just isn't much left to the imagination as to exactly what the motive is of this regime. When Nero did this he wasn't dithering while Rome was burning from the fire he set, he was playing the fiddle while anticipating the reconstruction of Rome in his totalitarian utopia. My how things have advanced now we shoot hoops and enjoy private concerts while America is laid to economic ruin. While he patiently waits to realize the dreams of his father here in America. Had enough yet?

    17. Bobbie says:


    18. Kent Misegades, Cary says:

      The many disadvantages of ethanol as a fuel have been well documented. Join our petition to the EPA to ban the blending of ethanol in Premium in order to preserve a fuel for the millions of people whose property is being destroyed now by ethanol. Read some of the thousands of comments here:
      You can find ethanol-free fuel here: http://pure-gas.org/
      Ironically, due to ethanol tainting our fuel, pilots are forced to used leaded aviation fuel, which the EPA also wants to ban.

      Germans have rejected the forced mandate of E10 and 70% have switched to ethanol-free Premium, throwing the whole biofuel lobby into a tizzy. Gas stations can not keep up with demand for premium and the gas stations are sitting on a sea of ethanol-laced fuel going stale quickly, it only takes a few days. Imagine that, consumers in Germany actually have a choice that is now disappearing in the U.S. Fight back, America.

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    20. Dean Billing says:

      Pat, Saginaw, MI said, "Please support ethanol- it means less dependence on foreign oil …"

      Please support your premise than the ethanol mandate has reduced dependence on foreign oil. Give us a link to one large scale, statistically significant, independent study that shows the E10 has reduced our dependence on foreign oil. You can't because it has never been done. If anecdotal information is any indication here in Oregon, where we have a mandatory E10 law, it is possible that we are using more gasoline now than before our law went into effect because of reduced mileage.

      "The oil industry outspends the ethanol industry by huge amounts when it comes to PAC donations." And what is ironic is that the ethanol industry made absolutely sure that the oil industry has plenty of money to lobby with, by demanding that the VEETC be extended another year. The ethanol lobby handed the oil producers $6 billion taxpayer dollars so they have no trouble spreading their word. I saw numerous ads last fall by the ethanol lobby demanding that the VEETC be extended, I saw nothing from the oil lobby, in fact I saw quotes that they said they didn't need it, but Senator Grassley made sure that it was in the tax giveaway at the end of the year.

    21. Spiritof76, NH says:

      I wish the Republicans act boldly and defund EPA and all the other agencies and save our country. But the again, I am wishing for something that the Republicans are incapable of.

    22. Public Citizen - Tra says:

      At what point do the starving masses of the U.N. mandate that the US corn production be used only for FOOD at bayonet point?

      Using a scarce [on a worldwide basis] food crop for motor fuel feedstock borders on the criminal. Recent crop failures in Russia have only served to exacerbate the problem.

      As far as NASCAR supporting ethanol, race cars have been running on alcohol based fuels for decades, not because of fuel economy but because of safety issues with gasoline based racing fuels.

      As far as electric cars go – coal fired cars make no sense either. The empty heads will tell you how clean electric vehicles are. Not true. You have the power generation source at a remote location where you don't see the pollution, but it is still there. Since coal is the number one fuel for electric generation in the US electric cars are coal fired, unless you are going to mandate the installation of enough solar generating capacity to satisfy the maximum power consumption of an electric vehicle every time one is purchased.

      In addition, you have the problem of disposal and recycling of the spent batteries at the end of their usable life-cycle. Most electric car proponents conveniently overlook this major energy input that is part of the inherent cost of electrics.

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    24. Bohemond, Richmond says:

      Sorry, Pat.

      "Ethanol is clean, green, and cheaper than gas." Per gallon, slightly cheaper- but ethanol's energy density is much lower than gasoline- only 9750 BTU/lb, barely half that of gasoline at 18,400 BTU/lb.

    25. Ken Ferguson, Venita says:

      The E.P.A. is an enemy of the State.The USA has more oil tht the Middle East &

      that is a fact.(All on dry ground) The USA has Trillions of cubic ft. of natural gas,

      The USA coal reserves is massive. We have the technology for clean burning coal. Problem is,the Socialist in our government will not allow (We the People)

      access to our resourses. Hello anybody home?

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