EPA still pushing ethanol and biofuels despite their drawbacks

Fuel Fix:
The Environmental Protection Agency wants refineries to put more ethanol and other biofuels into the gasoline supply next year .

The annual announcement on next year’s standard again drew protest from some biofuels producers, who say EPA is not keeping up with the renewable fuels mandate set by Congress in 2007.

Under the proposed 2017 standard:

ethanol production would increase 4 percent to 18.8 billion gallons
advanced biofuel production would increase 10 percent to 4 billion gallons
biomass-based diesel would rise 5 percent to 2 billion gallons
cellulosic biofuel would increase 36 percent to 312 million gallons
“This administration is committed to keeping the [biofuels mandate] on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program,” Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s office of air and radiation, said in a statement.

The EPA already faces opposition from biofuel producers, some of whom are suing the agency to force it to raise the levels those prescribed by Congress a decade ago.

Advanced forms of biofuels, that use waste streams and not food crops, remain wildly expensive technologies. But producers say the government is not doing enough to promote a product still in its infancy.
This is a really bad idea and does little to help the climate or reduce imports.  The mandate was born of a perceived scarcity of supplies of oil.  That scarcity does not exist at this point.  There is still a glut of oil on the market and more is available if needed.  biofuels like ethanol are also overrated when it comes to reducing pollution and some argue that they make it worse.  They harm engines and cause costly repairs, particularly for small engines like those used on equipment.  They drive up cost and provide dubious value.

Congress and the EPA should abandon the mandate and let the product compete in the open market.  That would determine its true worth.


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