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The Renewable Fuel Standard

October 5, 2020
By Staff, Institute for Energy Research

Renewable fuels, specifically ethanol, blended into gasoline can reduce some emissions and increase octane, but it also comes with serious drawbacks. Government should not be mandating ethanol.

From the study:

Most motor gasoline sold in the United States contains up to 10 percent ethanol (E10). Under free market conditions, some ethanol is added to gasoline for its value as an oxygenate, creating a cleaner burning fuel and raising the octane rating of motor  gasoline, which is useful in today’s higher compression, more efficient engines.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, combined with other subsidies and mandates from both state and federal governments, has increased the amount of ethanol blended into the nation’s fuel supply beyond what would occur in a free market. This is problematic, causing expensive problems because ethanol is corrosive to rubber and certain metals and can damage the fuel lines of boats, lawnmowers, and other small engine equipment.  In addition, ethanol also attracts water from the air, which, when it separates inside a fuel tank can clog pumps and filters and damage car and truck engines, and older gasoline stations' storage tanks.