As predicted, President Barack Obama on Friday, November 6, 2015, rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in a victory for environmentalists who campaigned against the project for more than seven years. His reasons include protection of the environment, no “lasting” economic benefits for the U.S., and the current low price of petroleum.
Early in his campaign, now top-tier Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, supported ethanol—a position for which I called him out. It has long been thought, that to win in Iowa, a candidate must support ethanol.
It’s common for people to misunderstand or misconstrue the difference between acknowledging the failure of the ethanol mandate to deliver on its promises of materially increasing energy independence or lowering prices for consumers, and being “anti-ethanol.” It’s entirely possible to see advantages of using ethanol without believing it should be mandated, just as it is possible to see the advantages of having a health insurance policy without supporting Obamacare. All mandates have unintended consequences.
In a recent article promoting his Protect Our Public Lands Act, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) argues the government should ban hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Pocan cites concerns about potential environmental and economic impacts of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” and raises concerns about fracking in national parks. The article has critical shortcomings regarding the environmental and economic impacts of fracking, and it misrepresents oil and gas activity in national parks.
Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.
Nearly 10 years have passed since the federal government imposed a national mandate requiring gasoline be blended with ethanol. At that time, President George W. Bush claimed the United States was addicted to oil and that biofuels, especially ethanol produced from corn, offered an important way to bring down gasoline prices while weaning the nation off of foreign sources of oil and supporting economic development in rural America.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” has made the United States the world’s leading producer of natural gas and oil. The country is producing record amounts of natural gas and crude oil production has increased by 80 percent since 2008. This increasing production has helped the United States drill its way to lower energy prices, which has resulted in large savings for every American, especially those who need it most.
They say politics makes strange bedfellows. In a perfect example, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) are cosponsoring the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act,” to abolish the corn ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires that increasing volumes of this biofuel be blended into gasoline. Let’s hope it passes, as an amendment or stand-alone bill.
In the early 2000s, ethanol was touted as the solution to a variety of ills plaguing our nation. As is currently the case, those who worshipped at the altar of ethanol placed their faith in a false idol.
On Monday, the City Council’s Committee on Finance voted to approve an ordinance mandating gas stations sell gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, also called E15. Chicago gas stations already sell E10—gasoline with a composition that’s 10 percent ethanol. Should the City Council and the mayor approve the committee’s recommendation, Chicago would be the first major city to enforce such a requirement.
Thanks mainly to the shale revolution, oil production in the U.S. hit a 28-year high last month while imports were at their lowest levels since 1995. Consequently, prices have fallen 15% since June, and Saudi Arabia has cut production by 400,000 barrels a day — providing further evidence that OPEC no longer has the power to set prices.
[The idea of green energy] was in the 1970s, following the OPEC Oil Embargo that solar panels began popping up on rooftops and “gasohol” subsidies were enacted. It was believed that green energy would move the U.S. off of foreign oil and prevent oil from being used as a weapon against us.
Last Friday the EPA announced a reduction in 2014 biofuel mandates from 18 billion to 15 billion gallons. This decision was made because gasoline consumption has fallen and fuel mixes made with over 10 percent biofuels can damage car engines. But there is more to the story.
October 17 was the fortieth anniversary of the oil embargo slapped on America by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). That action changed the entire geopolitical map by taking the power from the United States and giving it to the Middle East. As a result of the embargo, America slid into a serious recession.
The EPA is currently working on new regulations that will likely reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline from what we scientist-types refer to as “itty-bitty” to “teensy-weensy” levels instead.[…]