In what appears to be a somewhat controversial move, the Obama administration is expected to award a $730 million loan to OAO Severstal, a Russian steel manufacturer that will use the funds to upgrade its Dearborn, Mich., factory. The upgrade, according to sources that include Democrats Representative John Dingell and Senator Debbie Stabenow, is needed so Severstal can help U.S. automakers develop and build more fuel-efficient advanced technology vehicles.
Indeed, Severstal does supply various steel products to the Detroit Three but there was no word on what types of new advanced steel products the company will supply with the award. Nor what new technologies will be employed. The loan is expected to create 2,500 construction jobs and 260 permanent jobs when the upgrade is completed.
$730 million divided by 260 resulting permanent jobs = $2,807,692.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave final approval yesterday on labeling that will allow the sale of E15 gasoline/ethanol blends for newer vehicles. The EPA’s decision is said to be the final hurdle for the sale of E15 blends.
In passing the regulations, the EPA ignored the warnings of experts, including the auto industry, which has warned that many owners of older cars – more than three years old – could easily damage their engines by using the spiked ethanol blend.
The EPA also ignored the most environmentally conscious drivers on the planet, those in Europe where the option to use E10 blends has fallen flat. In Germany, all petrol companies began offering E10 blends as an option at service stations at the beginning of this year. Six months later, sales of E10 continue to meet strong resistance from German car owners, who have avoided using the blend because of fears that it could damage their cars’ engines.
Commenting on the regulation, Gloria Berguist, a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry trade group, stated,”We see the final rule fails to require that service station pumps contain a warning label directing consumers to check their owner’s manual to determine the appropriate fuel for specific vehicles. This is a significant and unfortunate omission.”
But perhaps Sheila Karpf, legislative and policy analyst at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research group, said it best. “A label can only do so much to protect consumers from the hazards of misfueling with E15 and won’t prevent a wave of voided vehicle warranties when vehicles are misfueled. It’s unfortunate that the Obama administration, in a rush to placate the corn ethanol lobby, is going to hurt consumers and ultimately taxpayers, who will be forced to address the damage done by our misguided ethanol policy.”
(SOP: Or, as I learned in my business ethics class: “What’s the object of the act?”)
Indeed, next time you fill up, check the number of labels that are already on a gasoline pump. When was the last time you read what they all say?
Growth Energy, a trade group that represents ethanol producers, predicted E15 will be at your local service station by the end of the year.