Is Congress Incompetent?

I am furious.

If you have a car older than 2001, or a lawn mower or generator or snowblower or outboard motor… get ready for even more fuel-derived annoyance. My guess is that most gas stations will be reset to put 50% more ethanol into your gasoline than you were already contending with, losing even more fuel economy, clogging fuel systems and trashing catalysts on your car (so you won’t pass emissions.)


Because Congress is incompetent!

EPA has set the ethanol usage mandates for 2016 and they will require more than 10% ethanol on average to be blended into gasoline; to facilitate this they have approved use of E15 (15% ethanol i.e. 50% more than current blends) in cars newer than 2001. (I have two cars older than that, plus small engines e.g. lawnmowers. E10 has been enough trouble… E15 will be more.) This regulation impacts the poor more than it does the rich, since they can’t afford newer vehicles. (I have older vehicles for other reasons.)

Even with all this, the volume of ethanol used will be less than the enabling legislation (Renewable Fuels Act of 2007) requires.

So … who writes the laws? The EPA? Or Congress?

This predicament is the fault of Congress. They wrote legislation based on projected consumption rates (since the real reason was to guarantee a market for distillers!) We are not using gasoline at those rates, so EPA is increasing the percentage to keep the volume up for the distillers. This means people will get less MPG and have even more damage to their engines (especially small engines and older cars.)

Congress needs to amend the Renewable Fuels Act now to cap the ethanol at 10%. (Actually there is a lot more… but I thought we should start here.)

–Robert L. Post

More info:
US breaks 10% ‘blend wall’ for ethanol in gasoline
EPA finalizes renewable fuels mandate for US refiners through 2016