Ethanol rule to be waived as inflation hits fresh four-decade high

Should we even be subjecting our engines and small engines to ethanol in the first place?

By Mark Moore
April 12, 2022

Suspending a federal rule barring the sale of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline during the summer months in the latest bid to reduce prices at the pump as inflation reaches new highs.

While visiting an ethanol plant in Iowa, Biden will announce an Environmental Protection Agency emergency order permitting the sale of gas using a 15% ethanol blend.

Most gasoline in the US is blended with 10% ethanol and higher blends are usually prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 15 over concerns it contributes to smog during the summer months. 

The afternoon announcement will come hours after the Labor Department announced that its Consumer Price Index spiked 8.5% percent over 12 months ago, the highest increase since December 1981.

Administration officials say the higher blend will save drivers an average of 10 cents per gallon at 2,300 gas stations. But critics say the order would offer drivers already affected by high gas prices lower-grade fuel in order to boost federally subsidized ethanol producers.

“Global food crisis approaching, Joe Biden urges burning more food for fuel,” tweeted Steve Milloy of the Heartland Institute Tuesday morning. “BTW, ethanol only increases gasoline prices… less efficient and requires special blending.”

Oil industry representatives, meanwhile, accused the administration of attempting a quick fix for high gas prices without solving the fundamental issue of energy supply.

“We’re concerned that the administration is not focused on the real structural problems here and is attempting to find short-term fixes that don’t get at the heart of the issue,” Frank Macchiarola, the American Petroleum Institute’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs, told the Wall Street Journal.

Iowa is the country’s largest producer of corn, a key component in ethanol, and the state’s senior senator expressed his support for the move on Tuesday.

“Homegrown Iowa biofuels provide a quick and clean solution for lowering prices at the pump and bolstering production would help us become energy independent once again,″ GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a statement.

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Comment by Willem Post on April 15, 2022 at 11:37am

Excerpt from:





General Comments


All of the above is well known by the engineers of larger utilities, who proudly own multiple grid-scale battery systems.

Those utilities have the detailed operating and cost data to perform refined analyses. 
They share some of their data with the EIA, on an anonymous basis.

They do not publish the analyses on their websites, or in their reports, or in press releases, because there would likely be major blowback from a better-informed citizenry.

Utilities think it is best to keep things fuzzy, cozy, and happy, with lots of smiling employees, always there to serve you.

Big Bucks are at Stake in the Small State of Vermont


If the "big bucks" are multi-$billion in a small, mostly rural state, just imagine what they would be in a large, mostly industrial state.


VELCO, which owns the Vermont high voltage grid, wants $2.2 BILLION to upgrade its grid to be ready for EVs, HPs, and more wind and solar, as part of fighting 1) climate change and 2) global warming


GMP, a major Vermont utility, with about 78% of Vermont’s electricity market, owned by Canadian/French investors, likely wants a similar capital infusion for 1) extending/augmenting its distribution grids and 2) building out a state-wide system of EV chargers.

GMP gets its funding, via the VT-Public Utilities Commission, the VT-Department of Public Service, and the VT Legislature 




The various costs of making wind turbines have gone up, especially in Europe, due to increases in energy, materials, and transport prices

The cost of financing has increased, i.e., higher interest rates, because of the Biden consumer price index, CPI, increasing at 8.5%/y, and the producer price index, PPI, increasing at 11.5%/y


Owners typically put up 50% of the turnkey capital cost of a wind, solar, or battery project, the rest is financed.

Owners typically make 9%/y on their investment, when bank interest rates are low, say 3.5%/y.

Owners may want to make a higher %/y, when bank interest rates are high.


All this translates in Owners having to sell their wind electricity at much higher prices, and oops, wind is:


1) No longer “competitive with fossil” (not that it ever was)

2) Certainly not competitive with existing low-cost, domestic natural gas, nuclear and hydro


The same is happening with the pricing of:


1) Solar electricity


2) Grid-scale battery system services


3) EVs, and EV chargers, and EV charging


All that will make it much more expensive to reduce CO2 to “save the world from climate change” (if that were actually possible).


However, reducing CO2 reduces biomass growth and food crop growth, which has already been reduced, due to a shortage of fertilizer and phosphate from Belarus and Russia; their prices have become stratospheric. A world recession, or worse, may be in the offing.


Remember, all this is due to the US relentlessly pushing to expand NATO beyond East Germany, which it had promised not to do in 1990, and turning Ukraine into a NATO-armed battering ram, after the US-instigated color revolution in 2014, to crush Russia. See URL


Comment by Stephen Littlefield on April 15, 2022 at 8:45am

All said and done, this move will cost Americans much more, as the increase in ethanol will most likely damage engines and give much poorer mileage. This is another move by the asshat clown and his regime that makes absolutely no sense in the benefit to Americans! Voting has consequences and voter integrity is critical. It's important that in November this regime is ousted, both congress and senate!

Comment by Willem Post on April 12, 2022 at 5:37pm



In the 2016/2017-crop year, the US had 85.8 million acres planted with corn, of which 31.4 million acres were planted to produce ethanol. The corn production was 14.440 billion bushels, of which 5.30 billion bushels were for corn to ethanol. The 169 bushels of each acre yielded 478 gallons of ethanol. Ethanol blended with gasoline was 14.80 billion gallon, about 10% of the gasohol fuel for vehicles. See table 1.


Below is a summary of US corn production for ethanol for 2016/2017.


Table 1/Corn


Planted, million acre


Crop + in stock, billion bushel


In stock, billion bushel


Crop, billion bushel




Planted for ethanol, million acre


Corn for ethanol, billion bushel


Ethanol production, million barrels/d




Ethanol production, billion gal




Wet and dry mill average, gal/bushel


Ethanol used for fuel, billion gal


Gasoline, billion gal


Gasohol, billion gal; per EIA


Ethanol, Btu/gal, LHV


Mileage, using 100% ethanol, miles/gal




Acres/car, using 100% ethanol





Energy Production:

Ethanol from corn is a very inefficient process. The energy production is only 9% greater than the energy inputs, excluding the energy credit of co-products. If that credit is included the energy production is 20% better. In comparison, gasoline from crude oil is a very efficient process. The energy production is 335% greater than the energy inputs. See table 2.


CO2eq Reduction:

- Because combustion CO2 of E10 is classified as “biogenic from an annual crop”, it is notcounted, per EPA.

- Because “Other“ CO2 to produce ethanol is from fossil fuels, it is counted, per EPA. See figure 1 of URL and table 3.

- It takes about 1.0355 gallon of E10 to travel the same distance as on 1.0 gallon of gasoline.

- US CO2eq was 6511 million mt in 2016, or 5795 million mt after sequestration.$File/Kim+and+Dale+2013+paper+on+Annual+Crops.pdf


CO2 Reduction Versus Gasoline



CO2 Change

Ethanol used for fuel, billion gal


Ethanol combustion CO2, lb/gal


Ethanol cropping, process, transport CO2, lb/gal


Ethanol combustion CO2, million mt


Ethanol cropping, process, transport CO2, million mt


Gasoline CO2, lb/gal, including upstream



Gasoline used for fuel, billion gal


Gasoline/gasohol Btu ratio; 116090/112114


Gasoline combustion CO2, million mt


Total fuel, billion gal



Gasohol CO2, billion mt; 85.4 + 91.0 + 1491.4




Gasohol CO2, billion mt; 91.0 + 1491.4





Cost of CO2 Reduction/Metric Ton:

The rack price of gasohol (E10, LHV 112114 Btu/gal) was $2.21/gal and of ethanol (LHV 76330 Btu/gal) was $1.40/gal, in Nebraska, in June 2018. However, the ethanol price should be increased due the costs of 1) transport to Texas refineries, 2) blending and 3) transport to Nebraska, which likely would increase the price to about $1.70/gal (assumed).


This low Btu/gal fuel is blended with gasoline to make E10 gasohol (90% gasoline/10% ethanol, LHV 112114 Btu/gal), which has 3.55% less Btu/gal than gasoline (LHV 116090 Btu/gal).

The calculated rack price of gasoline would be about 1.0355 x 2.21= $2.288/gal.

The calculated cost of gasohol would be about 0.1 x 1.70 + 0.9 x 2.27 = $2.213/gal, i.e., the assumed price of ethanol was correct.


- Ethanol adjusted cost/y = 14.8 b gal x $1.70/gal = $25.16 billion/y

- Gasoline cost saved/y = 14.8 b gal x 76330/116090 x $2.288/gal = $22.27 billion/y

- Fuel cost increase/y = 25.16 - 22.27 = $2.89 billion/y  

- Cost of CO2 reduction = (Cost increase, $2.89 b)/(CO2 reduction, 33.2 million mt) = $161/mt (fuel only).


This takes into account the CO2 credit for co-products and the credit for biogenic not being counted. If the CO2 credits were not applied, there would be a significant net gain in CO2.


Ethanol from Corn Program Damages the Environment:

The cropping of 30 million acres has harmful environmental effects that far outweigh any benefits from the program.



There is no rationale, other than politics, to spend about $20.7 billion dollars, plus billions of federal and state subsidies, tax savings due to interest deductions and depreciation write-offs, to have over 30 million acres in corn production, and maintain, operate, and renew the farm equipment and infrastructures for the ethanol-from-corn program.

Comment by Long Islander on April 12, 2022 at 5:09pm

It has always burned me that Iowa seems to be the ethanol production center and also a wind industry stronghold. Their Senator Chuck Grassley has helped both to say the least. Then of course it has an early national primary so politics would seem to be a big influence on what candidates are able to say with regard to opposing wind and ethanol.

Comment by Willem Post on April 12, 2022 at 4:10pm

Ethanol above 10% should not be used in cold climates, such as Vermont and Maine

Also, the A to Z process of cropping, processing corn to make ethanol, and transporting it by rail to a refinery in the south for further processing and blending, and then delivering the blend to gas stations, actually INCREASES the CO2 per mile of travel, than if pure gasoline had been used.

The ethanol from corn program was from the very beginning a farming sector welfare program.

It provides federal subsidies to increase U.S. CO2 emissions 

Comment by Lynn Oleum on April 12, 2022 at 2:56pm

1. Ethanol is net negative on energy. It takes more energy to produce, refine, and transport it that it releases when used.

2. Ethanol in concentrations greater than about 10% can damage engines that are not specially designed to use it.

Comment by Penny Gray on April 12, 2022 at 2:12pm

For the first time this winter I switched to no ethanol fuel in my snowmobile (I use it to commute one mile to and from where my truck is parked in winter) and because I filled the gas cans when the truck was low, I decided to fill the truck with no ethanol gas as well.  It was more expensive, but the snowmobile runs so much better on it, more power and no more stuttering, and I discovered that my truck and my snowmobile both got much better mileage using the no ethanol gas.  I'm glad no ethanol fuel is offered in northern Maine.  Eliminating ethanol saves a lot of small engines.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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