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Steve-O

Open Fuel Choice? errrrr What-everrrr...

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OK this is not politics. I love this country and the system we have is the best but still am not political. Anyway, I was searching a recently announced presidential candidate (because I listen to all of them and try to find out myself where they stand as opposed to mainstream media) and stumbled upon the fact that he sponsored a bill along with along with Grassley of Iowa:

 

US Senators Paul and Grassley introduce the "Fuel Choice and Deregulation act of 2015".

 

Those of you closer to the industry: Tell me, is THIS the law that simply requires all vehicles to be flex? Because while I have been hesitant to personally support legislation that tells people what to put IN their cars (RFS excepted, as thats too simple a definition for the RFS), I strongly support insuring fuel choice by making compatible HARDWARE an option. The vehicle manufacturers have not done this "fuel choice for consumers thing" its due diligence. If this bill is requiring FFVs then I am behind it 100%

 

LOL, so in as few words as possible and to still be clear, what does this bill do?

 

Thanks, Steve-O

 

 

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WAIT WAIT! - I mis-spoke. Compatibility is not the best term, because technically, I have been running "officially" incompatible for 10 years and loving every minute of it LOL.

 

So I should have said that I strongly support insuring fuel choice by making "officially compatible" HARDWARE an option. If this is THE bill that will make FFVs something that have to be made, I support it.

 

LOL, so in as few words as possible and to still be clear, what does this bill do?

 

Thanks, Steve-O

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There are a few things in this proposed piece of legislation, but the main one is for E15. It seeks equal treatment of RVP for E10 and E15, which allows more access to the fuel during the summer volatility season. There is also some conversation on converting current vehicles to alternative fuels and redefining E85 to match FTC, ASTM and others.

 

Full text is here:

 

http://www.paul.senate.gov/files/documents/MDM15509.pdf

 

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Outstanding! Like the improved clarification of "conversion." Thank you!

 

One more (sorry). Is there a bill currently that deals with official flex fuel capability in new vehicles? Thanks again!

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Thanks for update below, I will go ahead a post this nontheless.

Per my reading, it will legalize the EPA to offer a 1 pound RVP waiver to E15 like it does for E10. Both fuels have almost identical RVP with a very small improvement going E15 side. This will legalize across the board the sales of E15 even in summer months. EPA has failed to give the waiver to E15, because they claimed not to have legal power to do so. Now, it gets murkier as petrol has formulated a sub octane gasoline that is intended to be used with e10 ethanol in which the combined RBOB and ethanol meet EPA RVP limits. Meaning no waiver required. They refuse or not allowed per law to utilize this base stock for E15. The problem lies with E10 that only a third of country has access to this RBOB, mainly the metro areas with max concern of vapor emissions, so the 1 RVP required for sales in much of the country. Another compounding problem is even though E15 and E10 are almost identical in RVP, petrol claims they have to blend another variant of RBOB for E15 ethanol blend. Huh? I believe that is just a ruse to diss E15 and convince politicians and public to avoid support of such action. One must understand that petrol has total control of oil product ingredients for use within ethanol mix and only need a few baseline crude performance standards. So, they have been accused and rightly so as anyone with similar conditions would do so, of utilizing low performance base stock for ethanol mix and cheaper low carbon chemicals. Now, they don't make a larger profit in doing so and to E10 benefit, it helps to decrease cost, but the MPG goes down a tad from such action. Same with some of the higher pollution that often gets blamed by the ethanol content. What petrol really fears of E15 is that it would set a president and offer proof the benefit of high blend ethanol a good thing. If E15 goes out to marketplace in a big way they want to establish a special base stock that allows dumping more inferior petrol product and keep public in the dark of ethanol benefits. The oil companies are just acting rationally to competition, why can't politicians set up a neutral level playing field? One way to thwart petrol actions would be per some current ethanol plants blending own E85 and delivering directly to stations. The blender pump utilizes this E85 and E10 to produce mid level blends.

Edited by fleebut

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I see a fexfuel vehicle is defined as warranted by manufacturer. Meaning if the vehicle is backed by manufacturer to burn up to E85 or M85 fuel, it becomes a FFV and claims CAFE benefits. So, that's what manufactures do. Make vehicles that comply with law and do so at lowest cost. Very expensive to improve E85 mileage as it's much like R&D cost to launch another engine option. Also, did see the FFV gains a legislative bum up of 8 MPG for CAFE calculations in addition to actual energy equivalent gallon mileage as reward for building FFVs. 

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Ok, best I can confirm the "special blend stock" is a lower 1psi RVP stock that is utilized with E10 as the E10 mix will raise RVP 1 psi. Regular gasoline has 9 psi that is the max allowed by EPA via Clean Air act in non metro zones. Chicago has 7.9 RVP stipulation and probably the one of the reasons gas is so expensive in town. Refinery removes 1.5% of the regular gasoline, mostly butane to achieve lower RVP and this costs .4 cents more. These Clean Air standards concerned of VOCs released per normal evaporation of high temp summer months June 1- Sept 15. So, as I understand the RVP limits, it only applies during summer.

 

Refiners go through seasonal shut down for maintenance and retool for "special blend stock" season. The petrol side controls supply of this stock referred to as RBOB and does the blending and distribution of reg Unleaded E10. It's costly for additional tanks and separate transportation for RBOB such as supply at gas stations for blender pump convenience.   

 

When EPA granted Clean Air Act waiver allowing gasoline with 10-15 percent ethanol they threw in RVP can not exceed 9 psi during summer. This is not a problem if RBOB is available, but petrol control the supply chain of this (blender) and not in love with E15 sales. Also, the blend stock only available for one third the country. So, this Act would allow the same decades old splash blending of ethanol with gasoline and quickly enable the entire country access of E15. States have and can independently do same but this is a slow and partial solution.   

 

I suspect refiners don't like to supply RBOB stock and fight the national access to such as the stock limits their ability to dump lighter carbon chain molecules that are often in over supply. For example non summer months they can dump these high RVP stocks to gasoline and do. Winter blends have 6-7% less energy. Also, this is yet another reason they hate ethanol as this fuel displaces their easy path to dump less valuable and unhealthy product.

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Note the easy solution for RVP concerns for entire fuel supply market, that would eliminate costly boutique blends and refinery shut downs. As we know ethanol has very predictable RVP influence upon gasoline blending. Also, blending pumps almost as cheap as regular pumps and proven to be attractive to customers. So, politicians working in behest of the public good should push a path wherein blending pumps come to the rescue for summer minimum RVP requirements. Metro areas can manage the RVP requirement to their hearts content as the blender pump blends can be limited by such demands. E10 or even E12 will promote max RVP in coldest of months. E21 will drop RVP below 9 psi even with regular gas. Above E21 the RVP really drops quick. It does seem the petrol fuel supply business is purposely making life difficult for consumers. Crude oil's customer is the refinery of which there are very few. The hubs get what they get and not much retail customers can do about it. The petrol market mostly worried of politics and corrupting politicians for influence to get their way per regulation or lack there of. This influence stretches to EPA. Petrol hides much of their operation and those that do to much communication to public, probably black balled. If we knew their yield of product and concerns, my guess science, technology, and even ethanol would step forward to enable petrol to receive max value of their product. Petrol shouldn't try to hide unhealthy emissions, but work within country to utilize upon better markets. Also, let us know if diesel is in short supply as compared to gasoline yield with the resulting country energy direct ethanol to replace more diesel fuel. 

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That 8 MPG credit afforded FFV is allocated to the mpg side of gasoline. Meaning the best case scenario for automotive to maximize benefit would be the low mpg fleet. As a percentage of change increasing a hybrid from 50 to 58 not a big deal but improving a heavy SUV from 16 to 24 mpg is. I'm not sure in this as have never read the actual math for CAFE standard. Also, it appears there is no incentive on the E85 side to improve mileage. The incentive is to warrant the use of E85.     

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