Reuters Writes that US Government is Unfair to……Oil Refineries?

Apparently, the word has gone out to the media that it might be time for sane environmental and energy commentary.

The article published today on reuters.com is quite a surprise.

WASHINGTON, Sept 8 (Reuters) – In 2007, the U.S. Congress mandated the blending of biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into gasoline. One of the top goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But today, the nation’s ethanol plants produce more than double the climate-damaging pollution, per gallon of fuel production capacity, than the nation’s oil refineries, according to a Reuters analysis of federal data.

The average ethanol plant chuffed out 1,187 metric tons of carbon emissions per million gallons of fuel capacity in 2020, the latest year data is available. The average oil refinery, by contrast, produced 533 metric tons of carbon.

https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/how-us-regulators-allow-ethanol-plants-pollute-more-than-oil-refineries-2022-09-08/

Not only does the article note the treatment disparity between the industries, it goes into historical detail about how it evolved into today’s policy.

The ethanol plants’ high emissions result in part from a history of industry-friendly federal regulation that has allowed almost all processors to sidestep the key environmental requirement of the 2007 law, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), according to academics who have studied ethanol pollution and regulatory documents examined by Reuters. The rule requires individual ethanol processors to demonstrate that their fuels result in lower carbon emissions than gasoline.

https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/how-us-regulators-allow-ethanol-plants-pollute-more-than-oil-refineries-2022-09-08/

and continues

But the agency has exempted more than 95% of U.S. ethanol plants from the requirement through a grandfathering provision that excused plants built or under construction before the legislation passed. Today, these plants produce more than 80% of the nation’s ethanol, according to the EPA.

https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/how-us-regulators-allow-ethanol-plants-pollute-more-than-oil-refineries-2022-09-08/

When reporters queried the EPA about this, they spouted the hostage script.

In response to Reuters inquiries, the EPA said it has followed the intent of Congress in implementing the biofuels law, including the regulatory exemptions. The agency acknowledged the higher production emissions of ethanol, compared to gasoline, but asserted that ethanol is cleaner overall.

The agency also touted ethanol’s benefits on rural economies and national security. “Renewable fuels help diversify our nation’s energy supply, improving energy independence and security,” the agency said, adding that biofuels provide “good paying jobs and income to farming communities.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/how-us-regulators-allow-ethanol-plants-pollute-more-than-oil-refineries-2022-09-08/

It’s a long and detailed article and well worth the read.

HT/macusn

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Scissor
September 8, 2022 6:01 pm

Next they’ll notice that democrats can get away with just about anything. Maybe not.

Bryan A
Reply to  Scissor
September 8, 2022 7:39 pm

Can it be statistically proven that Democrats have a significantly higher carbon footprint than either Republicans or Libertarians? Any Political Science Major could surely Model it

Doonman
Reply to  Bryan A
September 8, 2022 7:54 pm

You can prove this in California just by looking at voter registration numbers, no model necessary.

Bryan A
Reply to  Doonman
September 8, 2022 10:34 pm

But THEY just LOOOOVE their models

IanE
Reply to  Bryan A
September 9, 2022 5:35 am

Yep: over in the United Kingdom, our late PM has the same problem!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Scissor
September 8, 2022 9:23 pm

With Chris Licht taking over CNN & letting many hard lefties go, there
may be a bit more middle-of-the-road reporting as there’s supposedly a bit
of a rift with the White House on CNN’s stating that it was inappropriate for
either party to have Marines behind the President as Brandon did for his
speech last week. That would be good if it continues, but I’ll have to wait &
see before I’d call it a change. I saw a poll that said 88% of Americans didn’t
trust the MSM & Licht may be trying to get more accurate reporting to
up CNN’s ratings & take some market share from both Fox & the other lib
networks.

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2022/09/07/politico-reports-white-house-anger-cnn-over-negative-coverage-bidens

https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2022/09/01/cnn-calls-out-a-big-problem-with-bidens-speech-left-goes-wild-in-response-n621464

Last edited 25 days ago by Old Man Winter
Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
September 8, 2022 9:48 pm

CORRECTION: “I saw a poll that said 88% of Americans didn’t
trust the MSM”

S/B “Rasmussen Reports said that 62% of likely voters believe media bias is getting worse, and even more, 82%, believe “fake news” is a growing problem.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/washington-secrets/media-more-untrustworthy-fake-news-fears-soar-to-82

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Old Man Winter
September 9, 2022 10:52 am

And that’s not even getting to likely voters who know the issues in depth and can see and identify the bias on display with greater concern than casual observers.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 9, 2022 8:36 pm

Are those the same ‘casual observers’ that can’t answer the question “In what State is Utah”?

Tom Halla
September 8, 2022 6:19 pm

Fermenting ethanol does produce CO2, in addition to whatever fuel was used for the stills. But I would regard biofuels as just another farm subsidy.

Yooper
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 8, 2022 6:41 pm

Why don’t we stop burning it and drink it instead?

Doonman
Reply to  Yooper
September 8, 2022 7:56 pm

Because drunks won’t save the Earth.

Streetcred
Reply to  Doonman
September 8, 2022 8:24 pm

Yeah, but we won’t feel the burn 🙂

KcTaz
Reply to  Streetcred
September 9, 2022 1:08 am

Hahahahaha!!!

KcTaz
Reply to  Yooper
September 9, 2022 1:04 am

We should quit burning the corn grown for ethanol and use it for food. Biden keeps warning about food shortages coming (as do others who still have their wits about them,) so it’s pretty dumb to fuel our cars with it when we need it to fuel our bodies.

However, if we are going to be starving, soon, please give me lots of that stuff that comes out of the still. I much rather drink myself to death than starve to death. 🙂

Rick C
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 9, 2022 2:43 pm

Best uses for corn (after fresh sweet corn on the cob):
Ethanol – properly aged in charred oak barrels
Corn fed beef – preferably Prime
Pork – mmm, bacon, ham, loin chops
Popcorn
Taco shells

Fuel additive doesn’t make my list.

H.R.
Reply to  Rick C
September 9, 2022 6:25 pm

Oh, it’s gotta be on your list somewhere, Rick. Check page 4 around #377 or so. 😉

Macusn
September 8, 2022 6:52 pm

All, when I read this article this morning it hit me that something is changing. I try to read Reuters every day, to get my sanity checked. It may be happening. We have discussed the insanity of the ethanol requirements before, now Reuters!

IanE
Reply to  Macusn
September 9, 2022 5:39 am

Yes – I also noticed on news headlines this morning that the BBC has been checking up on appalling abuses of the young and disabled in Ukraine and that the UN has actually called on Ukraine to undo the dreadful behaviour.

Has there finally been a tipping point when the damage done by the received narratives is becoming so great that a change really is in the offing?!

Last edited 25 days ago by IanE
Drake
Reply to  IanE
September 9, 2022 9:06 am

No.

In the UK, the only way to change the BBC narrative is to change their funding stream, that is eliminate it.

Martin Buchanan
September 8, 2022 6:53 pm

Still calls Co2 a “pollutant”…

Janice Moore
Reply to  Martin Buchanan
September 9, 2022 11:21 am

Yep. That’s the underlying propaganda message:

“CO2 emissions are causing significant shifts in the climate zones of the earth. Therefore,….. keep on buying our solar, wind, electric vehicle, bogus surface temperature data product, JUNK.”

[C]limate-damaging pollution = the biggest fraud on the public since the “Energy Crisis” of the 1970’s (when tankers full of oil circled offshore…).

Last edited 25 days ago by Janice Moore
Rick C
Reply to  Martin Buchanan
September 9, 2022 11:37 am

I always find it irritating when news articles cite quantities in “tons or carbon”. I never know if they actually mean carbon or carbon dioxide. If they mean carbon, why wouldn’t they report the 3.67 times higher and more scary carbon dioxide number which is what is actually emitted? If they mean carbon dioxide then the actual carbon content would be 3.67 times lower.

When I see this kind of sloppy reporting I suspect the author is inumerate and scientifically illiterate. So I have no confidence that anything in the article is useful information.

Outtheback
September 8, 2022 7:12 pm

From what I read they did not even consider all the nitrogen fertiliser needed to grow the stuff, creating further pollution.
That is assuming they did look at the CO2 created during the urea manufacturing process, otherwise it is really the proverbial.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Outtheback
September 8, 2022 7:52 pm

Urea is (NH2)2CO. In manufacture, the N comes from the air to a catalyst and the C comes from CO2.
2NH3 + CO2 ↔ NH2CONH2 + H2O.
Making urea consumes CO2. There are papers that claim this can be more efficient at CO2 reduction by using flue gas from a fossil fuel electricity plant as the primary input.
A novel process for CO2 capture from the flue gases to produce urea and ammonia – ScienceDirect
Overall, the benefits to mankind from the availability of urea to fertilize plants far outweighs the alleged harm from CO2 going into the air.
Disclosure: I once helped set up and operate a large new urea plant.

outtheback
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 8, 2022 8:32 pm

Thanks Geoff
There is a bit of it made here but overall by the time the mix is heated to 200 C and everything else with it we don’t consider it CO2 consuming.
Nitrogen, while extremely beneficial to the growth of the plant, in excess in the soil is not seen as beneficial however. Run off issues etc.
Europe seems to have some issues with it at the moment as well.

Greg Shark
Reply to  outtheback
September 9, 2022 12:44 am

to my utter disgust I found out that nitrogen in the soil benefitted only the growth of weeds

Pflashgordon
Reply to  outtheback
September 9, 2022 12:44 am

Soil is tested regularly for nutrient requirements. Any farmer that over-fertilizes is just tossing money away, so application rates, application methods and timing attempt to optimize growth while minimizing losses to the atmosphere, runoff or leaching. But what is absolutely true, if you harvest a crop, you are also harvesting nutrients that must be replenished to maintain soil fertility. Rotating a legume crop reduces fertilizer demand, but the nitrogen fixing symbiotic Rhizobia bacteria in the legume root system cannot approach the needed amounts.

Nitrogen-rich manures can also help, but there is not remotely enough manure to cover the acreages needed to feed the population. Digested silage has increased N availability, but again that is not enough to meet nationwide crop requirements.

So if we want to eat or grow corn for ethanol, we must fertilize with nitrogen.

As for the efficacy of corn ethanol for fuel, the energy inputs to produce the ethanol almost offset the amount of usable energy we get back as ethanol. Put another way, if ethanol were used as fuel for its own production, one would have to plant about ten acres of corn to net one acre’s worth of fuel ethanol to market. Some added credit can be given for production residues, but corn ethanol is a poor proposition as a biofuel to supplement or replace petroleum hydrocarbons. It’s main value is as an oxygenate additive to gasoline.

Biofuels suffer from much the same limitation as wind and solar power. Energy density. No matter what crop you choose, you can only yield a relatively low net Btus per acre (hectare) based on incident sunlight. To produce even a tenth of the amount of biofuel needed to meet motor fuel demand, you would have to plant every arable acre of land in the U.S. in biofuel crops. Of course, we would have no food, feed or fiber, but who needs to eat or have clothes to wear?

Bill Rocks
Reply to  Pflashgordon
September 9, 2022 7:01 am

Other significant problems include water use, such as drawdown of the Ogallala aquifer, and conversion of marginal land (wildlife habitat) to corn fields.

Scissor
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 8, 2022 8:52 pm

Yes, we have to eat.

Going back a little further, the carbon for CO2 along with the energy needed to drive the reaction, came from stream methane reforming and natural gas combustion.

KcTaz
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 9, 2022 1:12 am

I’m pretty sure that if you had been a contestant on the game show, What’s My Line, where a panel tries to guess what you do for a living, you would have stumped them and won with that for a job!

If you’re not old enough to remember that show, you can Duckduckgo it.

JimH in CA
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 9, 2022 12:57 pm

This company, CVR Partners, is unique in that they use petroleum coke as the C input . They also made huge profits in the last 2 quarters.
https://www.cvrpartners.com/

I do own stock in this company.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 9, 2022 8:42 pm

Suggest all line up and pee.

Bob
September 8, 2022 7:39 pm

If ethanol is superior to fossil fuels then they don’t need special treatment. Ethanol production should be required to be cleaner than fossil fuels if it is bandied about as the cleaner fuel for our future. More lies and deception, can’t these people tell the truth about anything? Makes me sick.

Earthling2
Reply to  Bob
September 8, 2022 10:16 pm

Just don’t put that corn starch in the gasoline and ruin every 2 cycle gas engine I have. If they have to mandate this ethanol to keep the farmers busy and productive, then just burn the damn stuff in its own burner to make electricity. They could use it to charge the electric cars and claim that the cars now run on corn instead of coal.

Timo, Not That One
Reply to  Earthling2
September 12, 2022 11:02 am

In Ontario, there is no-longer a supplier of ethanol free gasoline (as of last week). I don’t know why the two providers stopped selling it at the same time, but it is probable that the Federal Government (Justin Castro) made a secret “Order-in-Council” (similar to an Executive Order) to ban pure gasoline, which isn’t being talked about, by anybody, yet.
This will be unpopular, even with his own supporters.

John Hultquist
September 8, 2022 7:57 pm

Fuel discussions such as this ought to include history regarding octane, Lead, Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, and Ethanol.
https://www.eesi.org/papers/view/fact-sheet-a-brief-history-of-octane

Streetcred
Reply to  John Hultquist
September 8, 2022 8:34 pm

Interesting. However, if ethanol is an octane booster how come ethanol boosted fuels appear to be less efficient ?

Scissor
Reply to  Streetcred
September 8, 2022 8:57 pm

Ethanol is partially on its way to becoming CO2. That’s why its energy of combustion is lower. It is, however, good at scavenging radicals that would otherwise induce ignition (knock) when not desired.

IanE
Reply to  Scissor
September 9, 2022 5:44 am

Yes – but in my car at least (a Fiat Panda) I have found that going from E5 to E10 reduces my mileage by about 10% so it actually reduces the efficiency of burning petrol. At a cost of about 4% more per gallon, I thus lose over 5% of mileage per unit of money: needless to say, I now only use E5.

Last edited 25 days ago by IanE
Drake
Reply to  IanE
September 9, 2022 9:36 am

I would like to see an Executive order in the US, by the next Republican president, requiring that each level of fuel be required to list beside the price, the MPG on a standardized EPA test, and $ per mile, just like grocery stores must list the price per oz. etc. of foodstuffs.

THEN the population will be shown, every time they fill up their car, that ethanol costs MORE.

A story i have shared here before. While driving to Vancouver Wash. using GasBuddy, I found low priced diesel off of interstate, and went to fill up. Without really looking, I just started to fill my truck then notices it was #5 diesel, biodiesel I shut off the pump and moved on down the road, My tank was mostly empty when I stopped so the resulting fuel to the truck was mostly bio. My mileage, based on my “last 400 miles” IMMEDIATLY began to drop, No change in driving speed or conditions, still running along the Columbia river bottom. After about 80 miles, I switched to the last 50 mile setting and I was getting close to 25% LESS MPG with the bio crap.

The following winter my fuel filter crapped up, it was COLD, and I had to remove it and scrape off the sludge. Went into town to get diesel winter treatment. This was my third winter on the mountain and I hadn’t had the problem before, and haven’t had the problem since.

I have noticed that I get better mileage with Diesel from Maverick or Smiths than from Costco. Costco can have up to 10% bio by the notices on their pumps.

Funny thing, I just tried to DDG #5 diesel and it would not show a #5 diesel. Strange.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Drake
September 9, 2022 10:34 pm

I’d like to see an Exertive Order cancelling all past “emergencies” that allowed EOs (except, maybe, the Nuclear Football) to be over.
Then have Congress required to renew new such “emergencies” on an annual basis.

Pat from kerbob
September 8, 2022 8:28 pm

Biofuels have little future
This report doesn’t help.

Scissor
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
September 8, 2022 9:00 pm

Yes, at some level, there is always going to be a competition between using land to produce food vs. fuel, in addition to the inefficiencies mentioned above.

Redge
September 8, 2022 9:31 pm

The world faces a food crisis and yet we are still using land to grow plants as an additive to petrol

Pete Bonk
Reply to  Redge
September 8, 2022 11:30 pm

Not to mention covering productive farm land with slacker solar power installations that can’t provide reliable consistent power, ever. With the subsidies offered one can’t blame a farmer for giving up some of his or her land for guaranteed revenue; more proof of policy incentivizing poor outcomes for society.

dk_
September 8, 2022 10:00 pm

Seems like hardly anyone ever mentions the green ethanol fuel revolution in Brazil, and what it has cost that country. I wonder how much rainforest they would need to clear for food production if the proven farm land wasn’t dedicated to sugarcane.
Now tell Reuters how much CO2 it takes to build a wind turbine from raw materials, how much of those materials are fossil fuels. Maybe their science journalist can puzzle out how much CO2 is emitted to build and top up a battery-electric car.

Brad-DXT
September 8, 2022 10:26 pm

I’m happy that someone is stepping up to add more CO2 into the atmosphere.
I’m not happy about using food to do it.

Most modern cars don’t need ethanol to increase octane.
I have a gas station by me that sells racing fuel at a separate pump. the same could be done with ethanol blends.

Roaddog
September 8, 2022 10:37 pm

And then there’s the water consumption at a time when MSM is screaming their heads off about drought.
https://gazette.com/opinion/the-water-and-corn-cost-for-a-gallon-of-ethanol/article_30d76168-f4a2-5221-bcda-f4f753e46f79.html

AndyHce
September 8, 2022 10:52 pm

“The average ethanol plant chuffed out 1,187 metric tons of carbon emissions per million gallons of fuel capacity in 2020, the latest year data is available. The average oil refinery, by contrast, produced 533 metric tons of carbon.”

Note that this article allows one to jump to conclusions but provides essentially no way to make any comparison between ethanol and whatever they seem to be writing about.
This is quite aside from pandering to the ignorant who believe CO2 to be ‘pollution’.

Hoyt Clagwell
September 8, 2022 11:47 pm

” the agency said, adding that biofuels provide “good paying jobs and income to farming communities.”
More balloonheads that think businesses exist for the purpose of employing people.

IanE
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
September 9, 2022 5:46 am

Yes – another version of the broken window job creation scheme!

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
September 9, 2022 10:55 am

“Good paying jobs” is an easy sign of lobbyist talking points much like the high-cost rooftop solar lobby promoting that uncompetitive, tax credit mining branch of solar.

September 8, 2022 11:49 pm

That the energy used to produce ethanol from corn in the US exceeded the energy taken from ethanol by ICEs was known over a decade ago
This article is at least 10 years late.

September 9, 2022 5:33 am

Let’s see; ethanol costs more to produce, reduces the food supply and raises food prices, has less energy content and delivers fewer miles per gallon, destroys fuel systems and small engines, and produces longer lasting air pollution (not CO2) than gasoline. What’s not to like about this miracle “renewable fuel”?

Spetzer86
September 9, 2022 5:50 am

By shifting the demand for agricultural products by inflating the cost of corn, the government further separates the farm economy from reality in pursuit of Green dreams. God only knows how much fossil fuel has been wasted by farming / processing corn per a forced demand versus a different product with actual demand.

ResourceGuy
September 9, 2022 9:00 am

I’m not sure which way the EPA weathervane will turn in the case of lithium refining approvals in the U.S.

Tesla evaluating lithium refinery in Texas for electric car batteries (cnbc.com)

Politically the scores are:
1) refined lithium in the U.S. +1
2) done by Musk -1
3) in Texas -1
4) not Chinese +1
I guess NPR and NBC need to tell us how it nets out.

roaddog
September 9, 2022 10:15 am

Every environmental disaster of the last 25 years resulted from government policy.

Gunga Din
Reply to  roaddog
September 9, 2022 10:13 pm

And the MSM hyping it to support “The Cause”.

ResourceGuy
September 9, 2022 10:47 am

Give it time. Democrats are pulling back from the Iowa caucuses as an early primary start ahead of other states. They need to do that before pulling the plug on the ethanol state.

ResourceGuy
September 9, 2022 11:04 am

It’s a matter of getting away with things with no cost.

Mexico’s oil company acknowledges releasing methane plume – ABC News (go.com)

James F. Evans
September 9, 2022 11:42 am

Unbelievable… this gets to deck chair comedy.

The American oil industry has the capability to find & produce oil in the shortest time on the planet.

This is unnecessary, it’s human agency… that hurts America.

Drill baby, drill.

EppingBlogger
September 9, 2022 2:51 pm

Why are CO2 emissions described as “cardon” which sounds a lot more dangerous and “real” than a little bit of a rare gas. And why is CO2 implicitly described as a “pollutant”. It is not anything of the kind. It never harmed anyone who avoided falling into a brewing vat.

Gunga Din
Reply to  EppingBlogger
September 9, 2022 10:10 pm

Well, Cardon is spikey.

Definition of cardon (Entry 2 of 2)

1

or less commonly cardona \ kärˈdōnə \ any of several large columnar cacti especially of the genus Cereus that have a woody skeleton sometimes used for lumber (as in furniture making), may attain a height of 60 feet, and often form forestlike stands from Lower California to Chile and in Venezuela

2

any of several cactuslike plants of the genus Euphorbia of Central America and the West Indies

Sorry. Before spellcheck worked here, I was the typo king! 😎 (Maybe I still am? I recently misspelled my “name”!)
To your point, you’re right. They simplified the supposed threat away from CO2 to just “Carbon” because many who buy into the hype don’t know the real threats of “Carbon Dioxide” from “Dihydrogen Monoxide”.

Gunga Din
September 9, 2022 9:54 pm

Strange.
Some of Man’s CO2 is OK, if it’s “Green”.
Some is not if it’s released from “Fossil” fuels which were put there naturally.

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