The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is not bullish on biofuel. That’s what I infer from “Biofuels in the United States: Context and Outlook,” a Power Point presentation given by the agency at a biofuels workshop in Washington, D.C. last week. I suspect many in attendance were not pleased.
Three slides in particular are noteworthy.
Slide no. 19 projects that even in 2040, the quantity of biofuel in the U.S. motor fuel market will be about 10 billion gallons lower than the 36 billion gallons per year required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by 2022.
Slides 8 and 9 may explain why. Simply put, although a gallon of ethanol is cheaper than a gallon of petroleum-based fuel, gasoline and diesel deliver more bang for buck than their ‘renewable’ counterparts. It is cheaper to drive one mile on gasoline or diesel than on ethanol or biodiesel fuel.
That ethanol aggrevates rather than alleviates pain at the pump may also be inferred from FuelEconomy.Gov, a Web site jointly administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE).
Because ethanol has one-third less energy than gasoline and does not make up the difference in price, the higher the ethanol blend, the more money you spend on each mile driven. At current prices, it would cost the average driver $600 a year to switch from regular gasoline to E85, a fuel that is 85 percent ethanol.
Or, if you don’t trust your government, check out the American Automobile Association’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The report for today, Jan. 28, 2013, is posted in the marquee and at the top of this page.