Alternative Automotive Fuels

Why those who support renewables need to watch our politicians closely


A letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

I was reading my local newspaper on a Saturday afternoon and I stumbled upon an article which detailed congressmen Eric Swalwell and some of his colleagues writing a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to encourage Congress to enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The Renewable Fuel Standard

The Renewable Fuel standard is a federal law which requires transportation fuels such as gasoline and diesel to be blended with renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The fuels we use for transportation include gasoline for automobiles and diesel fuel for heavier vehicles such as airplanes.  The law was passed in 2005 as part of the Energy Act and expanded in 2007 as part of Energy Independence and Security Act. The law happened to be the first, and only, federal climate change mitigation policy in the United States. The law mandated the amount of renewable fuels blended with the conventional fuels be increased but after 11 years after passage of the law the EPA now proposed to wave these mandates.


Biofuels are produced from corn and materials similar to vegetable oil which are processed to produce a non-fossil based fuel which can be used as a regular substitute to fuels produced by conventional fossil fuels. Ethanol is the most commonly used biofuel which is used as an additive in gasoline and biodiesel which can be used in flex fuel vehicles which are designed to operate with gasoline and biofuels.

The reason the Renewable Fuel Standard was created

The United States still depends on foreign oil even with the increased levels of renewable fuels and the recent increase in domestic natural gas production.  Other reasons included reducing the price of domestic fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Why we should keep a close eye on our government

I’d like to thank my congressmen for supporting this worthy cause and wonder why more backlash has not resulted from the EPA attempts to ignore the mandates of the act which now law. My concern is if this becomes common practice for politicians to disregard laws designed to enable Americans to become more sustainable will the passage of future laws lose their impact over time?