What will make clean-fuels succeed?

Well, despite the hoo-haa created by recent activity in the ethanol sector, it remains deeply vulnerable to the oil prices set by the oil barons of Middle East (governments). They have the power to drop the prices of oil for just a few years to completely kill any viable renewable fuel industry that tried to survive in absence of state subsidies and regulatory support.

So that is exactly how the renewable fuel industry is going to try and protect itself from the Saudi/Iranian/Venezuelan grip on its business plans. The renewable fuel industry will ask the government for help. And they should, as long as, in my opinion, they make a case not just for oil security, but for cleaner environment and better energy efficiency. Replacing fossil fuel with non-fossil fuel that has same emission factors is not really an answer. Here’s a news item that tell us where regulations are heading to support this industry:

8 September 2006: The US EPA proposed a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) Program which would require that 3.71% of all the gasoline sold or dispensed to US motorists in 2007 be renewable fuel. The program would boost the use of corn-ethanol as automotive fuel—from 3.5 billion gallons in 2004 to estimated 6.95 – 9.35 billion gallons in 2012. Biodiesel would be also eligible for renewable fuel credits under the program’s banking and trading provisions. The use of biodiesel would increase from 0.025 billion gallons in 2004 to 0.3 billion gallons in 2012, estimates the EPA.


2 Responses to What will make clean-fuels succeed?

  1. Trekker says:

    Bilal, great blog! The days of our discussions on Usenet and soc.culture.pakistan seem like another age altogether.

    Hey can you explain in layman terms what’s the deal with Diesel fuel in the US? Biodiesel aside…how come VW, BMW and pretty much everyone else has a lineup of diesel engines available in Europe but the same engines don’t meet the standards in the US? (apart from a handful – VW’s Golf/Jetta/Touareg TDIs and I think MB has a diesel now in the US). In what ways are the diesel emissions etc requirements in the US different from Europe. Thanks!

  2. […] I have written before on the ethanol craze (here, here, here, and here). I have acknowledged VC Vinod Khosla for his efforts to bring research dollars into alternative technologies, but I have also chided him for using inappropriate political tractics to armwrestle people into going along for a ride with him. The recent vote in Californiafor a tax on oil, called Proposition 87, is one example of such arm-wrestling goin gon. […]

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