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From: Moi aka Sooohopeless (
Subject:         Re: The Great Ethanol Hoax Part two
Date: November 30, 2007 at 2:02 pm PST

In Reply to: The Great Ethanol Hoax posted by Jack in OH on November 30, 2007 at 12:39 pm:

MTBE was made in Houston as a gasoline oyygenate to lower air contaminants during summer months. MTBE is water miscible, and in circumstances where leakage from underground fuel tanks took place unabetted, the MTBE was found to give drinkink water a foul taste, even in low concentrations. The CORN people were very anxious to step into the breach and supply alcohol as a substitute for MTBE. Most water sources were NOT affected by MTBE as the water sources were much too deep.
When EPA decided to use alcohol as a substitute for MTBE, Texas was upset, and California was furious. See letter below:
August 1, 2003

Honorable Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Feinstein:

Thank you for your letter dated July 15, 2003, in which you requested that the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (ARB/Board) investigate the impacts of ethanol-blended gasoline and its potential contribution to the recently degraded air quality in Southern California.

Like you, I am extremely concerned about the recent increase in the number of exceedances of the federal ozone standard and the high elevated peak ozone levels observed in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) this summer. As you observe in your letter, the air quality in the Los Angeles Basin has deteriorated this year, concurrent with a dramatic increase in the use of ethanol-blended gasoline.

All of the causes of this year's increased ozone are not yet known. In the two weeks since you wrote, the ARB has not had sufficient time to fully determine the role that ethanol-blended gasoline has played relative to other factors. We do know that weather conditions have played a very important role, and that increased use of ethanol-blended gasoline has increased emissions over what they otherwise would have been. That said, I also think it is fair to point out that the impact of ethanol-gasoline blends, while significant and of great concern in California's ongoing efforts to reduce ozone, is not large enough to explain the majority of air quality deterioration that occurred in the SCAQMD this summer.

Unfortunately, at this time we are not able to precisely quantify the magnitude of the impact of higher emissions associated with the increased use of ethanol-blend gasoline have had relative to either weather or other factors affecting this year's ozone pollution. However, I would like to convey what we know today about the potential impact of ethanol use on emissions of smog forming compounds in Southern California.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy costs, see the Web site:
As you know, as part of our efforts to obtain a waiver from the two percent oxygen requirement that now applies to most of the gasoline sold in California, the ARB has prepared extensive analyses of the impact of ethanol-gasoline blends on emissions and air quality. This information was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to support our waiver request, and showed that emissions of ozone and particulate matter precursors would be reduced in California if U.S. EPA approved the waiver request.

In addition to the information previously submitted, the ARB has continued to conduct studies to further our understanding of how ethanol-blended gasoline would affect emissions in California. As is explained below, our current best estimate is that the increase in the use of ethanol-blended gasoline has likely resulted in about a one percent increase in emissions of volatile organic gases (VOC) in the SCAQMD in the summer of 2003. Given the very poor air quality in the region and the great difficulty of reaching the current federal ozone standard by the required attainment date of 2010, an increase of this magnitude is of great concern. Clearly, these emission increases have resulted in higher ozone levels this year than what would have otherwise occurred, and are responsible for at least some of the rise in ozone levels that have been observed.

To elaborate on the ARB's analyses, there are several ways that the use of ethanol in gasoline could potentially increase VOC emissions. The most import factors are: increased volatility of gasoline; the commingling of ethanol and non-ethanol blends in vehicle tanks; and permeation of ethanol through hoses and fuel system components.

Your letter mentions the potential for ethanol to increase the volatility of gasoline. Increases in volatility lead to increases in evaporative emissions from both the fuel distribution system and from vehicles. This effect may result in emission increases in other parts of the nation where volatility of ethanol-gasoline blends are not tightly controlled. However, the California Phase 3 Reformulated Gasoline regulations, which ban the use of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) in California gasoline, anticipated this effect, and required all gasoline to meet the same volatility standards whether ethanol was used or not. In addition, these regulations actually slightly lowered the volatility limit that most gasoline must meet. Therefore, we do not believe that this factor is contributing to increased VOC emissions in California.

Commingling emissions occur when consumers fill their fuel tanks and mix ethanol and non-ethanol gasolines. The California Phase 3 Reformulated Gasoline regulations were designed to preserve the existing Phase 2 Reformulated Gasoline vehicle emission benefits and to provide additional emission reductions to offset potential commingling effects. However, in 1999 when these rules were adopted, there was limited information on the real-world effects of commingling, and the ARB committed to further analyze this issue.

Board staff recently completed a study of the likely emissions impacts of commingling in California. Based on this study, we continue to believe that the California Phase 3 Reformulated Gasoline regulations provide adequate compensating reductions to offset the emission increases due to commingling. The findings in the commingling study have been submitted to the University of California for formal peer review, and the review is expected to be completed within the next month.

Increases in permeation emissions occur due to ethanol's greater propensity (relative to most other components of gasoline) to leak through the soft components of fuel lines and through other parts of the fuel system. Because this effect was not adequately quantified when the ARB adopted the California Phase 3 Reformulated Gasoline regulations in 1999, ARB staff was directed to investigate these impacts and to return to the Board with recommendations on whether there is a need to take further actions to address those impacts.

Preliminary results from this study are now available, and strongly suggest that permeation impacts are both real and significant. The ARB's analyses indicate that this effect could increase ethanol evaporative hydrocarbon emissions by between 10 and 15 tons per day in the SCAQMD at the current level of ethanol use.

The information presented above is especially relevant in light of the recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court that overturns U.S. EPA's denial of California's oxygen content waiver request, and requires U.S. EPA to reconsider this issue. ARB believes that the information now available on the impact of ethanol in gasoline on VOC emissions must be part of U.S. EPA's reconsideration. We believe that the data on commingling and permeation effects demonstrate that U.S. EPA's denial of California's waiver request, which was based on its conclusion that granting the waiver might lead to an increase in overall VOC emissions due to commingling effects, was in error. As part of our effort to gain a reversal of this waiver denial, California is now preparing an information package to submit this information to the U.S. EPA.

I hope the information provided above is of value to you. As in the past, I am sure that your office will be of great assistance in assuring that California receives the needed waiver, and I look forward to working with you on this effort. Relative to understanding the factors that contributed to higher ozone levels this summer, the ARB staff will continue to work closely with SCAQMD staff to understand the cause of the recent increases in ozone levels in southern California. We will keep you informed of the results of this effort. If you have any additional questions about this important issue, please feel free to contact me, at (916) 323-2514, or Alan C. Lloyd, Ph.D., Chairman, ARB, at (916) 322-5840.


Now the corn farmers are looking forward to selling "lakes and small seas" of Alcohol, but the public wants to opt out. typical "Government in your face operation". Corn farmers are aware of the shortcomings of alcohol, and refiners and distillers as well.

OH informed government, where are you??

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