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Ethanol Can Help with the Gas Shortage


The ethanol industry claims it can fill the shortage in the nation’s fuel supply in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas, and impact on the nation’s oil refining capacity

The Renewable Fuels Association is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to expand a fuel waiver the agency granted in response to Hurricane Harvey, which has now shut down about 12 percent of U.S. refining capacity, driving gas prices up as much as eight percent.

RFA President Bob Dinneen says ethanol is readily available nationwide, to fill the missing supply…

“We could probably supply almost all of it.  We’ve got a surplus of ethanol in the country, and we’ve got supplies all over the country, and if marketers were allowed to instead of blinding just 10%, blend just 5% more, 15% ethanol, that would go a long way towards addressing the supply needs of the industry.”        

Dinneen says that would be true in future situations, where the nation’s fuel supply is squeezed. But the RFA chief complains the EPA hasn’t done enough with its earlier waivers…

“What the EPA did might actually hurt.  They’ve allowed refineries to adjust volatility, to allow the volatility of gasoline to rise to 10 pounds for blends of ethanols less than 10%.  So, a refiner now could, with the waiver that the EPA has granted, produce an E0”

But the summer season where waivers apply, runs out on September 15th, in just over three weeks, raising the question, why ask for another waiver, now?…

“It’s not moot for the next three weeks, and quite frankly going beyond that, having the ability to blend a higher percentage of ethanol would help beyond September 15th.”                        

Especially, Dinneen says. if supplies tighten with dwindling stocks, or there are future refinery or terminal outages.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.