In Center Ring: Biofuels Versus Big Oil

The National Conference of State Legislators kicked off in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday and today the group has invited Geoff Cooper with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) along with Patrick Kelly of the American Petroleum Institute (API) to debate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). According to Cooper, the invitation was extended because state legislators want to learn more about the program and how it affects its constituents throughout their states.

Biofuels v Big OilThe RFS, says Cooper, is one of the most successful, if not the most successful, energy policy the U.S. has ever legislated. Coupled with the rapid growth of the biofuels industry – biofuels have gone from around 2 percent of the fuel supply to 10 percent in a little over six years – the oil industry is now taking note of its lost market share and is now attempting to put their feet in the sand to keep from losing more.

While the biofuels industry continues to fight for the RFS while also educating consumers and legislators about biofuels and the success the policy is having, Cooper said the top priority of the industry right now is to expand the use of E15 and E85. E15 will get the industry over the so-called “blend wall” while higher blends such as E85 will enable all the fuel required by the RFS (36 billion gallons by 2022) to be blended with the fuel supply.

“I think a lot of people had written E85 off over the past several years, but we’re in an environment today where E85 prices are very competitive to E10 on a energy equivalent basis,” explained Cooper. “As a result, we are seeing renewed interest in E85, unlike anything we’ve seen in the last five to ten years. E85 sales are really jumping in markets where it is readily available and consumers understand it and there is some level of competition.”

Cooper is confident that the more legislators learn about now the RFS is working, the more supportive they will be in keeping the policy in place and moving forward.

Listen to my interview with Geoff Cooper here: Biofuels Versus Big Oil

9 thoughts on “In Center Ring: Biofuels Versus Big Oil

  1. I am certain that Goeff will do an excellent job in unvailing API’s miss-guided attempt to discredit the RFS.
    Is there any way I can get a video of this debate? I am sure this will be very entertaining!

  2. “The oil industry is pushing back against the RFS because it has seen its market dominance start to slip partly because of the rise of biofuels, Cooper said. ” In California, the oil industry is pushing back because it is illegal (CARB) to put more than 10% ethanol into gasoline. As far as E85 is concerned, the ethanol industry is free to negotiate deals with retailers to install E85 tanks and dispensers at retailers locations. The oil industry won’t help you because they no longer own the stations. The quote above is kind of misleading. World-wide petroleum demand is still increasing.

  3. The fact that they invited Cooper indicates they are actually interested in becoming more informed on the subject. I sincerely hope Mr. Cooper will also point out (in addition to the significant benefits the economy has been enjoying from ethanol’s addition to the fuel supply) that so much more could be gained from ethanol if only we made a little effort to take full advantage of the high octane property of ethanol.

    In 1998 a dozen teams of college Engineering students competed in the DoE’s Ethanol Vehicle Challenge and optimized a Chevy Malibu to run on E85. All the teams achieved BETTER fuel efficiency with their optimized engines than the stock Malibu got with gasoline. The top three teams achieved 13% to15% BETTER fuel efficiency on E85 – and that was without downsizing the engines!

    If the auto industry would make a little effort to take advantage of ethanol’s higher octane this would amplify the gains obtained from using ethanol in GHG emissions reductions as well as in the displacement of gasoline.

    It’s interesting to note also, that the historical premium (6% to 8%) paid for domestic (West Texas Intermediate) crude over the crude from anyplace else in the world stared shrinking around 2005 as ethanol started to become an appreciable portion of the supply of fuel for domestic consumption. WTI for the last couple of years has been selling at about 14% to 18% LESS THAN North Sea Brent – a swing of roughly 20% to 24%. And not because domestic oil production has increased in 2012 since none of that increase resulted in increased supply of refined gasoline for the domestic market.

  4. American must be taking advantage of domestic natural resources like natural gas to produce additional replacement fuels like methanol. Replacement fuels are cheaper and cleaner compared to gasoline.

  5. Americans should be able to choose whether they fuel their cars with oil, ethanol, methanol, natural gas or whether they want to drive an electric vehicle. Incorporating new replacement fuels at the pump will drive down gas prices and give americans the ability to choose how they fuel up their car.

  6. Pingback: API, AFPM ask EPA to partially waive 2014 ethanol requirements – Oil & Gas Journal - News

  7. Pingback: API, AFPM ask EPA to partially waive 2014 ethanol requirements – Oil & Gas Journal - News

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