Big Oil Wins Big on Taxes

Big OilToday is Tax Day. While many Americans will receive a modest refund, oil producers are raking in the big bucks, $4 billion to $6 billion, through tax incentives dating back more than 100 years. Today, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is pointing out that many of these century-old tax provisions never expire while the ethanol industry agreed to let its incentive expire in 2011.

The Joint Committee on Taxation recently estimated that elimination of certain “fossil fuel preferences” (i.e., subsidies) would save U.S. taxpayers at least $24.5 billion — or roughly $210 per U.S. household — between 2015 and 2020.

“Big Oil needing any government assistance is preposterous,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Why would an incumbent industry that has a virtual monopoly at the pump need taxpayer dollars to compete?”

“On this tax day, Congress should seriously consider repealing this absurd and costly corporate welfare,” continued Dinneen. “Consumers will benefit when there is a truly free market in motor fuel, when alternatives like ethanol have access to the pump, when a variety of biofuel blends (E15, E25, E85) are accessible to consumers and when taxpayers no longer have to subsidize the most profitable industry on the planet. Until then, programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard are all we have to compel some level of competition and cost-control on an otherwise broken and unfair market.”

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

E15 Fuels More Than 150 Million Miles

According to Growth Energy, a major E15 milestone has been reached – drivers have driven more than 150 million miles using E15. The data came from gasoline retailers who work with Growth Energy who also said there have been no negative effects. Several retailers who offer E15 include Sheetz, Kum & Go, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA and Protec.

E15 at the pump“I have been using E15 for the last three years at Minnoco and have noticed no mileage loss, better engine performance and great savings at the pump,” said Mark Foudray, an E15 consumer from Shakopee, Minnesota.

Steve Anderson, an AAA approved and ASE certified service consultant and owner/operator of Marshall Cretin Minnoco from St. Paul, Minnesota, said of E15, “We have a loyal following for the E15 product. Approaching 1,000,000 gallons pumped we have nothing but positive results. E15 has higher octane and burns cleaner —the interior of the engines are cleaner and the tailpipe makes more air, and less pollution. E15 has been widely tested and is safe for all vehicles model year 2001 and newer. We see over 50 percent of our customers purchasing E15 on a daily basis. The statistics don’t lie. It is a great product and we are pleased to offer it as a choice to our fueling customers.”

Joel Hennen, a third generation owner/operator of Hennen’s Auto Service from Shakopee, Minnesota who also sells E15 said, “I have been selling E15 to our customers since the fall of 2013. Since I introduced it, there has not been one complaint due to mileage loss or engine performance. I hear only positive comments with drivability and the lower cost at the pump. Today’s cars are designed to utilize the higher octane to improve performance through different computer management systems. I see higher-level blends of ethanol, like E15, being the next fuel of future.”

IRFA Testifies at Senate Ag Subcommittee Hearing

irfa-shaw-hearingIowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw recently testified before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. The hearing focused on USDA Rural Development Programs and their economic impact across the country. Shaw said during his testimony that properly supporting renewable fuels programs are vital to the well-being of rural America.

“I think it can be fairly stated that no other effort to improve rural economies made the impact that renewable fuels did,” Shaw testified. “Then, in late 2013, the Obama Administration proposed Renewable Fuel Standard levels far below statutory levels. The economic fallout was predictable and painful. The last two years have seen a dramatic downturn in the health of rural America. Corn prices plummeted, land values fell, farm income plunged, and agribusinesses laid off workers by the thousands.”

Shaw highlighted several Energy Title programs under the Farm Bill, including the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, the Renewable Energy for America Program and others, that have provided strong returns on investment. “However, the effectiveness of these programs is reduced by a lack of consistent and timely funding.”

Shaw also asked the Senate leaders to support other programs outside the Farm Bill that can boost rural economies. “The Renewable Fuel Standard, the USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership, and equalizing vapor pressure treatment for E10 and E15 are all additional programs you can support that are vital to the well-being of rural America.”

EIA Hosting Ethanol & Biodiesel Rail Webinar

eia logoIn conjunction with the release of the first monthly report that tracks ethanol and biodiesel movement via rail, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is hosting a webinar, “Learn about ethanol and biodiesel movements by rail added to EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly report,” on April 7, 2016 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm EDT.

The webinar will review data for January 2016 included in the March Petroleum Supply Monthly as well as will discuss the historical data on monthly rail movements of ethanol and biodiesel back to January 2014.

The webinar is presented by Mindi Farber-DeAnda, Supervisor of EIA’s Biofuels & Emerging Technologies Team; and Arup Mallik, Member of EIA’s Biofuels & Emerging Technologies Team. Click here to register.

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.

NCGA: Small Engine Industry Must Change

Small engines and the use of ethanol has been in the news lately with spring approaching. This week, National Corn Growers Association CEO Chris Novak published the following editorial.

The Small Engine Industry Needs to Change with the Times
By National Corn Growers Association CEO Chris Novak

NCGA-Logo-3The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), which represents the small engine industry, just released their annual survey results concerning consumer knowledge of small engine fuel options. Based upon the results of the survey, corn farmers and small engine manufacturers can agree that consumers need and deserve more information about today’s fuel options. We know from our own consumer research that consumers are hungry for information about the positive effects of ethanol blended fuels.

Further, we agree with the OPEI on two other points: 1. The OPEI acknowledges that E10 is safe for use in small engines like motorcycles, lawn mowers, trimmers, boats and snowmobiles; and 2. The OPEI notes that federal law prohibits the use of higher ethanol fuel blends in outdoor power equipment. Beyond these points of agreement, however, lays a significantly different view of the future.

Our farmers believe that consumers having a choice of fuels is a good thing. Whether you choose renewable ethanol because you want cleaner air or because you like purchasing an American grown fuel or because higher blends of ethanol are frequently priced lower than gasoline-the bottom line is that you should have the choice if you want to kick your oil addiction. The OPEI’s press release suggests that you, as a consumer, can’t handle this choice-that you lack the ability to know the differences between regular gasoline and higher ethanol blends like E-15 or E-85. We trust consumers to make the right choice of fuel – whether it is for their cars or small engine.

Today, our farmers are working with the auto industry to examine how higher blends of ethanol, ranging from E-15 to E-25, can boost gasoline octane. Higher gasoline octane can improve engine performance and help the auto industry achieve higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy mileage targets. Likewise, it is time for the nation’s small engine manufacturers to stop fighting renewable fuels and, instead, begin working to ensure tomorrow’s small engines can run on tomorrow’s renewable fuels.

Rather than fighting choice and change, our nation’s small engine manufacturers should work to develop engines that can run safely on higher blends of renewable fuels. Perhaps then, instead of bemoaning the lack of consumer knowledge and issuing dire warnings-the OPEI can offer consumers something real: the opportunity to make a clean and renewable choice.

GRFA Commends Countries for Biofuels Leadership

GRFA logoThe Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) is commending the leadership of 13 countries that highlighted biofuels as part of their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) plans at the recent Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris.

GRFA president Bliss Baker sent letters to leaders of the 13 nations thanking them for recognizing the significant contributions that ethanol-supportive policies have made, and continue to make, in reducing CO2 emissions in the transport sector. “If the enormous potential of biofuels as the only commercially viable technology available to significantly offset emissions in the transport sector is to be achieved, strong policies must be put in place to increase global production, innovation and consumption of ethanol,” said Baker.

In the letters, Baker offered the expertise of GRFA members to work with government leaders in the development of policies that “maximize the advantages of biofuel technologies that are demonstrated to be effective, affordable and immediately available.”

The 13 countries are Angola, Argentina, Brazil, China, Fiji, India, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.

DuPont Honored for Cellulosic Ethanol

bdc-dupontDuPont Industrial Biosciences has been recognized by the Biorenewable Deployment Consortium (BDC) with the organization’s 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award for the company’s continuous contributions to the deployment of biochemical and advanced cellulosic biofuels.

“The Biorenewable Deployment Consortium is proud to honor DuPont with its 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award,” said BDC President and Co-Founder Masood Akhtar. “DuPont sets a strong example for others around the world who are working to expedite the transition from a petroleum-based to a biobased economy.”

“DuPont Industrial Biosciences is proud to be recognized by the Biorenewable Deployment Consortium for our work in the ever-growing bioeconomy sector. We accept this award on behalf of a global team of innovators who are focused on providing market-driven, biobased solutions to meet the needs of a growing population, while protecting our environment for future generations,” said DuPont Business Director for Cellulosic Ethanol Steve Mirshak, who received the award on DuPont’s behalf.

DuPont established the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa and with its
partner Tate & Lyle, is the leading producer of Bio-PDO®, a petroleum-free propanediol. BDC has worked toward the deployment of bio-processes since 2006 and holds two annual symposiums a year for its members.

Consumers Insulted by #Ethanol Poll

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen reacted today to a poll released by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) saying consumer awareness and knowledge of how to use higher ethanol blends remains relatively unchanged. The poll also found that consumers do not pay attention to the fuels they use. Dinneen pointed out that there has never been even one case of misfueling or engine damage since E15 was introduced into the marketplace. He also noted that E15 is sold at less than 2 percent of gas stations nationwide and the majority of people polled live nowhere near a station that sells E15. Dinneen added that education will come with more widespread use of higher ethanol blends including E15.

dreamstime_xs_55164057“By law, all gasoline station pumps must post clearly labeled signs indicating what fuel is being dispensed and what vehicles can operate on those fuels,” explained Dinneen. “For higher ethanol blends above 10 percent, only flexible fuel vehicles and 2001 and later model year vehicles are approved — not small engines, lawnmowers or any other off-road vehicle. This has been the case since EPA gave final approval to E15 in 2012, four years ago.”

Dinneen continued, “OPEI’s poll is insulting to consumers. OPEI seems to think the average consumer is stupid enough to purposely ignore a very clear label and knowingly violate the law to save a few cents per gallon on a typically low-volume fill up for small engines.

“E10 is sold at nearly every single gasoline station in the U.S. and has been used in small engines for decades. All major small engine manufacturers approve and warranty the use of E10 in their equipment.

“Ethanol blends are typically the lowest-cost fuel option at retail gasoline stations and E15 has generally been even cheaper than E10. That is good news for consumers. However, consumers are still smart enough to know they should use only approved fuels for their equipment. Continue reading