Retailers Tell Success Stories at #ACE16DC

ace16-dc-retailersFuel retailers disputed the existence of the mythical “blend wall” and told their success stories selling higher ethanol blends during a Congressional briefing last week at the end of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) legislative fly-in. Participants in the briefing for Congressional staffers were ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, Pearson Fuels CEO Mike Lewis and Midway Service Owner Bruce Vollan.

“For years, we’ve been battling against an avalanche of misinformation about ethanol, the RFS, and E15, and yet there seem to be some lawmakers who have just given into this “cartoon villain” version of ethanol and are opposed for reasons that don’t exist,” said Lamberty. “Among the most frequent objections we hear are station owners don’t want to sell higher blends of ethanol, customers won’t buy them, and those factors create a mythical “blend wall” that makes it impossible to get beyond ten percent as required by the RFS. The best way to bust all of those myths is to introduce policymakers to people like Bruce and Mike whose real-world stories prove the naysayers are wrong, and higher ethanol blends are creating tremendous opportunities for station owners.”

Vollan talked about how has seen ethanol blends help his store grow from a tiny gas station into a multipurpose convenience and auto repair stop, and noted that he has never had customers report any damage from using higher ethanol blends. Pearson Fuels is a supplier of multiple locations offering E15 and E85 to drivers in the Pacific Coast and Lewis discussed the growth he has seen in demand since opening the nation’s first Alternative Fuel Station in San Diego in 2003.

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

Grains Council CEO at #ACE16DC

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is a new member of the U.S. Grains Council, recognizing the important role that organization plays in the promoting exports of both ethanol and the livestock feed co-product DDGS.

ace16dc-sleight“We have a unified (ethanol) industry effort working together to build exports,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight who visited with members of ACE in Washington DC last week for their annual legislative fly-in. “For 15, 20 years we’ve been doing DDGS and now for about three years we’ve been looking at ethanol and the effort is going farther and faster then I thought it would, again because of the strong cooperation we’re getting from the full ethanol industry.”

Sleight says China, Japan, Mexico and India are top priorities for U.S. ethanol exports. Secondary markets include Canada, Philippines, Colombia, and Peru.

In this interview, Sleight also discusses the U.S. DDGS market outlook and upcoming Export Exchange this year to bring buyers and sellers of DDGS together. Interview with Tom Sleight, USGC

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

#ACE16DC Gets Update on China DDGs Investigation

Back in January, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) initiated an investigation into anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of U.S. produced distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The U.S. Grains Council has been on top of the situation from the start and provided an update for members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Washington DC this week.

ace16dc-erbUSGC Director of Industry Relations Lyndsey Erb says the issue is important because China is such a huge market for the ethanol co-product used as animal feed. “China had been the largest importer of U.S. DDGS, taking 56% of exportable supplies last year,” said Erb. USGC has been coordinating the response from the U.S. ethanol industry to provide the information needed to help address the concerns and get China back in the market.

“We’re still very much in the beginning stages,” Erb says. “Ultimately the case has to wrap up between a year and a year and a half after the initiation so we still have a long road ahead of us in this case but such a large percentage of the U.S. industry is joining the Grains Council to fight that we are optimistic we can put together a good defense.”

Erb explains more in this interview: Interview with Lyndsey Erb, USGC

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

Nebraska Congressman Visits #ACE16DC

ace16dc-smithAll Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) wants is for consumers to be able to have the choice to fill up with 15% ethanol all year long. That’s why he introduced H.R. 1736 to extend the current EPA Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to include E15.

“My bill would reverse this antiquated, non-scientific regulation out of EPA that was created in 1990,” said Rep. Smith during an interview at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual legislative fly-in. “It’s about generating interest and enthusiasm by consumers to exercise their choice.”

Smith recognizes that getting any legislation passed during this election year is challenging, but he hopes to find a legislative vehicle on which to attach the bill.

In this interview he also makes some comments about the budget and appropriations process going on in Congress right now: Interview with Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

Political Strategist Speaks to #ACE16DC

ace16dc-tewesAs we all know in this contentious presidential campaign, most candidates spend at least as much time attacking their opponents as they do talking about their own good qualities and experience. That is a strategy that the ethanol industry should employ more often, according to an experienced political strategist.

Paul Tewes of the Smoot Tewes Group (STG) has 20 years experience as a political operative and he believes that in the ethanol public relations battle, there is a clear villain on the other side. “We’re only going to win if we always make it a contrast with oil,” said Tewes, speaking to members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Washington DC this week. “We always have to continue to stress our positives because there are so many of them but we have to contrast that with the negative facts about the oil industry.”

Listen to an interview with Tewes here: Interview with Paul Tewes, Smoot Tewes Group

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

#Ethanol Supporters Storm the Hill #ACE16DC

ACE president Ron Alverson  (2nd from left) with other members after Hill visits

ACE president Ron Alverson (2nd from left) with other members after Hill visits

Nearly 70 grassroots members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) stormed the Hill Wednesday at the organization’s 8th annual fly-in.

ACE members participated in more than 125 meetings with lawmakers representing 36 states to convey the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and bipartisan legislation to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 and higher ethanol blends.

ACE president Ron Alverson of Dakota Ethanol says his visits on Capitol Hill went very well. “We had good discussions, they asked good questions, generally it was a pretty positive day,” said Alverson, noting that members are much more informed about ethanol than they were just a few years ago.

There is good support among ethanol-friendly members of Congress for the RVP bill, but Alverson says the sense he got from his meetings is that very little will be done this election year. “They said probably nothing at all,” he said.

Alverson is pleased with the turn out for this year’s fly-in, which has grown from just 25 attendees the first year to 60-80 on average now. “Quite frankly, it’s hard to handle more than that,” he said. “We 60 people we can cover the meetings pretty well.”

Listen to my interview with Alverson here: Interview with Ron Alverson, ACE

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

How Reid Vapor Pressure Impacts #Ethanol

Reid vapor pressure (RVP) is one of those scientific terms reminiscent of high school chemistry but it has a significant impact on fuel at the pump, especially in the summer months.

ace16dc-lambertyAmerican Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) senior vice president Ron Lamberty gave a brief lesson on RVP to attendees at the organization’s annual legislative fly-in this week as they prepared to visit lawmakers and ask them to back legislation the would address how it impacts retail sales of E15. “When you put it in a car, gasoline needs to vaporize so you can burn it, so a higher RVP in the winter is good because it’s colder, but in the summer when it’s hot, gasoline automatically vaporizes a little bit itself,” said Lamberty. EPA’s current rules require gas to have nine pounds of RVP in the summer but adding 10% ethanol, even though it has a lower RVP, the combination increases the total RVP to about 10. The one pound waiver that was added to the rule several years ago dealt with that, but it was specific to 10 percent ethanol only. “That means you can’t use E15 even though it actually has a lower Reid vapor pressure than E10 does,” said Lamberty. The legislation seeks to change that rule.

In this interview, Lamberty gives an update on labeling USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP), and new FTC labeling guidelines for mid-level ethanol blends. Interview with Ron Lamberty, ACE

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

ACE Shows Faces of #Ethanol in Roll Call

ace16dc-goodIn conjunction with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual legislative fly-in this week, the grassroots ethanol organization is running ads in Roll Call, a popular Capitol Hill publication. Today’s ad highlights the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and bipartisan legislation to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 and higher ethanol blends.

Charlie Good, an ASE-certified mechanic and convenience store owner from Nevada, Iowa, is featured in print and digital ads on April 13 in support of bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) to allow gas station owners to sell E15 year-round by updating EPA’s Reid vapor pressure regulation, which currently restricts the use of E15 in conventional gasoline areas of the country from June 1 to September 15. Good offers multiple fuel blends to his customers. “It does take your gallons down in the summer,” said Good. “I think it’s an unjust and unscientific law. People don’t understand why it’s okay one day it’s not okay the next day.”

Delayne Johnson, CEO of ACE-member Quad County Corn Processors, will be featured in a Roll Call print ad on Thursday highlighting how the RFS has enabled his company to become the first to successfully commercialize cellulosic biofuel from corn kernel fiber. Quad County produces two million gallons of cellulosic biofuel annually in addition to 35 million gallons of conventional biofuel.

Listen to an interview with Good here: Interview with Charlie Good, Iowa fuel retailers

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

ACE Ready for Annual Fly-in

ace16-flyin The 8th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) legislative fly-in is coming up next week, April 13-14, and some 70 members of the organization from about 15 states are planning to attend this year.

“It’s really important that we show the human face of ethanol and renewable fuels,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “We spend a lot of time with our participants to get them to think about the personal side of ethanol and what it has meant to them and we ask them to convey that when they sit in these meetings.”

Jennings says they have meetings set up with over 100 members of Congress or staff during the two days of the event. “We try to seek as many meetings out with so-called opponents of renewable fuels as we can (because) we want our folks to have an opportunity to change hearts and minds, and we know that’s not always easy…we think it’s really important to not just preach to the choir.”

The 2016 election year will definitely play a part in what ethanol supporters will be discussing next week on Capitol Hill. “Not only are we electing a president, but every member of Congress is up for re-election and about one-third of the U.S. Senate,” said Jennings. “The message we want to convey to members of Congress is that it’s in your best interest to continue to support renewable fuels if you have, or give renewable fuels another look if you haven’t been a supporter.”

In addition to meeting with Congressional representatives, fly-in participants will also hear from administration officials and there will be a briefing for Senate staffers by fuel retailers who sell higher blends. “We continue to get attacked on the so-called blend wall…and this is our attempt to have the most effective, persuasive messengers when it comes to the blend wall, retailers who are actually selling E-15 and flex fuels to consumers,” Jennings said.

Fly-in registration information is available at this link on the ACE website. And if you can’t be there in person, stay tuned here for photos and interviews from the event.

Learn all about the ACE Fly-in here: Interview with ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings

Senate Holds #RFS Oversight Hearing

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held an oversight hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard (#RFS). The legislation has been under fire for several years and there are currently several lawsuits surrounding the program: the biofuels industry is suing because the required volumes (RVOs) for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are below what the legislation requires, and Big Oil is suing to reduce RVOs claiming there is not enough advanced gallons in the marketplace. In response to the hearing several ethanol associations stressed the importance of the benefits of the RFS to America.

ace“While we appreciate that the Administration improved the final Renewable Fuel Standard blending targets for 2016 compared to the purposed rule, regrettably, the methodology used to waive volumes for 2016 protects the old way of doing business by obstructing consumer access to cleaner fuels, stifling competition in the marketplace, and undermining innovation,” said Brian Jennings, the Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE). “ACE members have made significant biofuel production advancements because of the RFS and we know that further innovation is within reach if federal policy continues to reward a competitive marketplace. ACE is strongly committed to ensuring consumers have access to high octane, low carbon, affordable blends of ethanol and we will explore all options at our disposal to achieve that goal with this Administration and the next.”

growth-energy-logo1Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy stated, “Homegrown ethanol and the RFS are major wins for the American people. Biofuels, such as ethanol, are a 21st century fuel for 21st century vehicles. It is our only alternative to oil, and the RFS is the most effective policy in reducing cancer-causing chemicals and the toxic emissions that come from oil’s monopoly on our motor fuel supply. The RFS supports consumer choice, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs across America, strengthens our energy security and slashes climate change causing emissions.

“Policies like the RFS improve America’s climate, national security, rural economy and consumer choice. Repealing or changing the RFS would turn back the clock and undermine the progress we’ve made toward increasing America’s energy independence and cleaning our air and environment.”