Push Poll Push Back

The American Petroleum Institute has unveiled yet another anti-biofuel poll. The latest released during a media call today was conducted by Harris Poll. According to the poll, 77 percent of registered voters are concerned that breaching the so-called  ethanol blend wall would drive up the cost of gasoline for consumers and reduce the nation’s fuel supply (85 percent Republicans, 75 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents).

“Across the political spectrum, voters are concerned about the significant damage the RFS mandate and higher ethanol blends could cause to automobiles, motorcycles and almost every type of gasoline powered engine,” said API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola during the media call. “Regardless of their party affiliation, voters are concerned with mandates that try to force too much ethanol into our fuel supply.

Listen to the API media call here: API Media Call on Anti-Ethanol Push Poll

In response to the news, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said, “It’s no surprise that API, an organization which has made its top priority to get rid of the RFS, is trotting out a phony faux poll to support its antediluvian narrative about biofuels. This push poll, which uses opinionated statements to elicit a negative responIowa-RFA-logo-new1se to biofuels, is not reflective of reality. For example, the renewable fuel standard (RFS) has not raised food prices 25 percent, as API claims, but instead food prices have risen by an average of just 2.7 percent per year since 2005, the year RFS was adopted. In fact, only 17 cents of every dollar spent on food pays for the raw farm ingredients in the food item. The other 83 cents pay for processing, transportation, labor, packaging, advertising and other costs.

“If you want to know what the American public really thinks, with direct questions and no spin, look no further than a Morning Consult poll conducted April 1–3, on behalf of RFA, in which nearly six in 10 registered voters (57 percent) support the RFS. Conversely, only 19 percent oppose the RFS. Additionally, 64 percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of biofuels and two-thirds (66 percent) have a favorable opinion of corn-based ethanol. This data is consistent with the findings from the approximately 18,000 registered voters we have polled over the past year.

“With these growing levels of support for biofuels, it’s no wonder that API President Jack Gerard told Politico’s Morning Energy last month that the organization was pivoting its strategy toward reforming, rather than repealing, the RFS. API can’t continue to support repeal because Americans want more fuel choice, not less,” Dinneen concluded.

The Morning Consult poll included results from 2,004 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/-2 percent. To view a copy of the poll results, click here.

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

Ethanol Report on Trade Mission to Peru

ethanol-report-adThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was part of a recent trade mission to Peru led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack which included discussions about increasing cooperation with that country when it comes to ethanol production and exports. The March 13-15 trip went to Lima and the Piura region, where cane-based ethanol is produced, and featured meetings with ministry of energy officials and a biofuels roundtable with ethanol producers and fuel distributors.

RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard was among nearly 40 industry and government representatives on the trip. In this edition of the Ethanol Report, Hubbard talks about the mission and opportunities with Peru to expand ethanol

Listen to it here: Ethanol Report on Trade Mission to Peru

#Propane Power on a Roll

growmark-propane-beckyPropane power is on a roll these days, going far beyond it’s traditional uses of home heating and grain drying, moving into areas such as fleet vehicles and school buses. To learn more about propane’s market expansion, Cindy Zimmerman spoke with Becky Hornblower, GROWMARK’s propane marketing and technical services manager. GROWMARK is one of the country’s largest retailers of propane.

According to Hornblower, GROWMARK markets propane in 16 states and operates more than 300 company-owned transports, which she said really helps with their supply network. This resulted in the sale of more than 200 million gallons of propane sold in fiscal year 2015, and this year looks even stronger.

One major area of growth for the company is the autogas market and Hornblower noted that their members have been really proactive in growing this market. She explained autogas is the term used when propane is used in a motor-fueled vehicle such as a pickup truck, car, bus, fleet delivery vehicle and the like.

Their network is growing and they have specific accounts and networks in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois for school systems that are operating their school buses using propane autogas. They also have municipality accounts, transit and commercial lawn company accounts to name a few.

“This market presents not only a strong opportunity for our position in the industry, especially as you look at growth year round versus cyclical cycles with residential and ag demand,” said Hornblower. She added that end users are really seeing the benefits of the cleaner burning aspects of propane. For example propane is easier on the engines saving maintenance costs and prolonging engine life. She said that there are tax credits and incentives for propane conversion and use and propane is safer than gasoline.

What about savings in action? She said one school district reported savings of more than $300,000 over 10 years with their propane autogas bus fleet.

Learn more about propane in this week’s ZimmCast: Interview with Becky Hornblower, GROWMARK

Trump and Cruz Rumble Over #Ethanol in Miami

debate-trump-cruzThe topic of ethanol came up in last week’s GOP debate in Miami, although it is unlikely to play a big role in the Florida primary this week.

During the debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) boasted that he campaigned against ethanol in Iowa because he wants to cut the size of government programs. “When I went to Iowa and campaigned against ethanol mandates, everyone said that was political suicide,” said Cruz. “If we’re going to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids you’ve got to be willing to take on the lobbyists…specifying these are the programs I will eliminate.”

Donald Trump responded that Cruz did a flip flop on ethanol in Iowa. “Ted did change his view and his stance on ethanol quite a bit at the end,” said Trump. “He did change his view in the hopes of doing well.”

Listen to the exchange here: Cruz and Trump debate ethanol in Miami

Cruz outlined his stand regarding ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard in a January 6 Des Moines Register editorial. He does advocate a “phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard” but at the same time Cruz says he will “vigorously enforce our antitrust laws to ensure that the oil-and-gas industry cannot block access to the market for ethanol producers.”

#FlexMyChoice Fighting for FFV Future

flexmychoiceThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) launched a new campaign at the 2016 National Ethanol Conference (NEC) designed to help the industry voice support for flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).

The “Flex My Choice” effort is aimed directly at automakers, auto dealerships, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to the fact that automakers have begun to limit FFV models as the government phases out CAFE credits for producing FFVs.

ethanol-report-adIn this edition of the Ethanol Report, we hear from RFA CEO Bob Dinneen, Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White, and RFA Chairman Randall Doyal with Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Minnesota about #FlexMyChoice and why it is important to make a difference.

Listen to it here: Ethanol Report on Flex My Choice campaign

PERC Promotes Farm Incentive Program

Several years ago, the Propane Research and Education Council (PERC) launched the Propane FEED Program for farmers. Today the program has evolved as is now called the Propane Farm Incentive Program and it’s taking off. To learn more about the program and how farmers can get involved, Chuck Zimmerman spoke with PERC’s Director of Agriculture Business Development Cinch Munson during Commodity Classic 2016 in New Orleans.

classic16-percThe results for 2015 are in, said Munson, and they follow the trends for the past five years. “Folks who switched to a propane irrigation engine from a diesel engine saw their energy costs go down 58 percent in 2015. So by making that switch they’re ending up with a lot of money in their pocket. Grain dryers a similar story. By upgrading their equipment from an old generation propane grain dryer to a new propane grain dryer people saved 42 percent on energy.”

Technology is changing; technology is getting better and equipment is so much more efficient, said Munson. He noted that when you combine that with the fact that propane supplies are up and propane prices are down, people who make the switch are seeing more money in their pockets.

To learn more about the Propane Farm Incentive Program, listen to Chuck’s interview with Cinch Munson: Interview with Cinch Munson, PERC

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

#FlexMyChoice Massages at #Classic16

classic16-rfaVisitors to the 2016 Commodity Classic had the opportunity to voice their support for Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) and relax their aching muscles at the same time at the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) booth.

It was the first opportunity for RFA to get their recently launched “Flex My Choice” campaign in front of the agriculture industry and Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White says many of the people they spoke to at Classic had no idea that auto makers were cutting their production of FFVs. “It doesn’t matter what part of agriculture you’re coming from, the phasing out or elimination of flex fuel vehicles will be devastating to the advancement and growth of our industry,” said White.

Beginning this year, the fuel economy credits given to auto makers for building flex fuel vehicles were phased out. “Ironically, now we have incentives for natural gas vehicles, so we’re encouraging fossil fuel usage over an alternative like E85,” White said.

Classic attendees who visited the RFA booth were able to fill out post cards to be sent to the main three automobile manufacturers, as well as EPA. While doing that, they were also able to get a nice chair massage, which was welcome relief for many who spent the day walking through the huge trade show catering to corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers.

Listen to Robert explain more about Flex My Choice in this interview: Interview with Robert White, RFA, at Commodity Classic

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

NCGA Identifies Ethanol as Driver for Demand

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) held a press conference this week during 2016 Commodity Classic to discuss several key issues facing the corn industry and highlight the efforts currently in place to create solutions to the challenges that have been facing growers.

NCGA president Chip BowlingNCGA Present Chip Bowling, a corn grower from Newburg, Maryland, said that the most important action the organization is taking on behalf of its members is creating more demand for corn products. Ethanol, said Bowling, is an important element to increasing demand.

“Ethanol is the most important driver for future growth of corn demand,” said Bowling during his remarks. “We’re investing in fuel pump infrastructure that will give customers more access to higher ethanol blends. USDA has provided $100 million in matching grants to help us with this effort. We’re also pushing for changes that would give every American year round access to E15. At the same time we’re protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which provides renewable, clean energy and increases our nation’s energy independence.”

Bowling noted that in January, NCGA banded with other organizations in court to challenge the EPA’s renewable volume obligations (RVS) under the RFS, which are under statutory levels. “We’re pushing for our case to be heard before EPA announces 2017 RVO numbers that are supposedly coming out at the end of March.”

Listen to the full press conference here:
NCGA Press Conference at Commodity Classic

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Tom Buis Delivers the “CEO Report”

Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis delivered his “CEO Report” yesterday during the Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida. During his remarks, Buis said, “Last year was an interesting year, we increased exports, had another great corn crop and defeated every single attempt to repeal or reform the RFS.”

The Growth Energy team.

The Growth Energy team.

Buis segued into how the ethanol industry stepped up to the plate to help change the flight of the ball on the renewable volume obligations (RVO’s), or how much biofuels are required to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. He noted that while the rules remain flawed, it was better than the proposed rules and “the blend wall was finally cracked this year”. In addition he outlined how supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard (#RFS) along with expanding market access to E15 will continue to be top priorities for 2016.

“We need to grab the bull by the horns and discuss all the good work that this industry does, including the environmental benefits, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and all the good jobs we create across the nation, while helping bring choice to American consumers,” continued Buis. Who added in regards to their successes in working directly with retailers to bring E15 to the market, “Our work showed that we were not going to let others define us, we must share our story on how we are tomorrow’s fuel,” noting that “fossil fuels will go the way of the steamboat, horse and buggy and the blimp. Anytime we are compared to the oil industry, we win.”

Buis concluded his remarks by stressing, “I think as an industry, there is no industry that is better. With our knowledge, passion and engagement, we’re going to win this fight, but it’s going to take effort. Effort equals results. We will not sit back, we will roll up our sleeves and we will win.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Tom Buis following his CEO Report: Interview with Tom Buis, Growth Energy co-chair