ARF Reacts to Hillary Clinton’s Ag, Energy Plan

Presidential candidate Sec. Hillary Clinton (D) made another visit to Iowa this week where she unveiled her agriculture and rural policy plan. She called for strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) so that it continues to drive the development of advanced cellulosic and other advanced biofuels. Clinton called for more consumer choice at the pump with better access to ethanol blends such as E15 and E85 as well as biodiesel. She also called for more renewable energy to be phased into the electricity sector.

Sec Hillary ClintonAmerica’s Renewable Future (ARF), who is meeting with candidates to discuss the benefits of biofuels, released the following statement in response to the plan.

“We thank Sec. Clinton for her commitment to Iowa’s farmers, consumers, and investors with her call of a strengthened RFS. We enthusiastically echo that call, especially in light of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) disastrous Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) proposal. The EPA’s proposal is another example of conceding to the oil industry’s demands at the expense of clean, domestic renewable fuels and American jobs.

Billions of dollars were invested by famers and local investors to produce biofuels with the promise of a strong RFS. Reducing the RVO will strand capitol and punish the pioneers who invested in clean, homegrown renewable energy. The RFS has created 73,000 jobs here in Iowa and hundreds of thousands more around the country that cannot be outsourced, reduced our dependence on foreign oil, helped clean our air, and provided consumers savings at the pump.

Iowa’s rural communities and economy depend on the RFS for stability and growth and the EPA must get it back on track and focus on protecting the jobs and economic progress it has yielded.”

#ACE15 Success, Jennings Highlights What’s Next

The 28th Annual American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) Ethanol Conference was a huge success. At times the room was stand-up only and the content was engaging and informational for attendees. I had a chance to sit down with Executive Vice President Brian Jennings who kicked off the conference and closed the conference and he said that there were a few presentations that really stood out.

The first was the retailer panel that featured Kum & Go and what they are doing to promote the use of E15 and other ethanol blends to consumers in the Midwest, along with Protec and what they are doing in a totally different way and different part of the country (South/Southwest) to bring ethanol to consumers.

Brian Jennings EVP of ACE“There are a lot of smart, progressive companies out there that see the advantage, that see the price advantage, see the other advantages that E15 and higher blends bring to the table,” said Jennings. “I know it’s frustrating for some in our industry because the progress of E15 is going as quickly as any of us like but progress indeed is being made and it’s a testament to the work that ACE and others are doing with the Kum & Gos in the world and the Protecs of the world.”

Another panel that was very informative, noted Jennings, was the panel of ethanol producers who are adopting new technologies and becoming pioneers of emerging technologies. These plants, he said, are leading the way in production improvements, in new product developments, bring in new revenues and help them diversify. Jennings hopes that other ethanol producers both at their conference and not, will look to these plants as examples and also embrace these new technologies and co-products.

The conference really focused on emerging technologies and wins in the industry but none the less talk of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was common among attendees. I asked Jennings what the next step was for ACE, on behalf of the industry, to keep the fight for the RFS front and center. He said that the industry has until November 30th to continue engaging with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and they will continue to do just that. “They have mountains of comments they have to sift through and we’re proud of ACE and the ethanol industry on how many comments were submitted.”

“I am enormously frustrated with the EPA,” said Jennings. “I have to be honest. We try to be constructive, we try to be helpful, and they just really want to continue to base this thing on the blend wall. So we have our work cut out for us.”

ACE hopes to engage in a Power to the People campaign this fall in the beltway and around the country to educate consumers about the benefits of ethanol.

To learn more about the Ethanol Conference and what’s next for ACE, listen to my interview with Brian Jennings here: ACE's Brian Jennings Conference Review

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Protec Takes Unique E15, E85 Approach

Todd Garner, CEO of Protec Fuel, has more than 30 years in the fuel business. As such, he has been able to launch an interesting model in how they bring more choice at the pump by helping retail stations offer E15 and E85. The company started offering E85 in 2006 and has made incredible strides in getting more ethanol into the marketplace. But they do more than just distribute biofuels. They are also a large fuel logistics provider, basically, they do all of the aspects that any oil company might do but work primarily with small to midsize retailers and companies. Attendees were able to learn about their business model during the ACE Ethanol Conference last week in Omaha, Nebraska.

Todd Garner ProtecProtec is the largest supplier of ethanol to the military in the U.S. and has E85 stations on nearly every naval base in the country. And for the first time, they have begun to supply the rental car companies at the Nashville, TN and Charlotte, North Carolina airports. Garner said rental car companies used to buy their own fuel. Today it’s all done together and outsourced. So Protec has convinced these rental car operations to change to E15 because nearly all cars on the road can use this ethanol blend. Gardner said that they will continue to push this program with other rental car agencies located at airports across the country.

To learn more about how Protec is promoting/selling E15 and E15 listen to Todd Garner’s remarks here: Todd Garner, Protec

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Kum & Go, E15 Leader #ACE Award Honoree

Jim Pirolli Kum and GoKum & Go is well known in the Midwest, especially in states like Iowa and Nebraska where this year’s #ACE annual Ethanol Conference took place (Omaha). During the event, Jim Pirolli, Vice President of Fuels for Kum & Go talked about his company’s commitment to rolling out E15 stations as well as their efforts to continue to sell more E85. The retailer opened their first E15 station in Des Moines, Iowa recently with 6 more planned over the coming months.

How are they successful? Well, for starters they are price competitive at the pump. Pirolli said that Kum & Go recognizes that alternative fuels such as ethanol support local economies, better for the environment and help them deliver more to the customer than they might expect via an expanded product portfolio and also offering the economic and performance benefits. This summer they have done a very aggressive promotion campaign for E85 in Omaha and also for E15 in Des Moines. He did ask for help in helping to educate consumers about E15.

Listen to Jim Pirolli’s presentation here: Jim Pirolli, Kum & Go

Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award

American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) Ron Lamberty (left) awards Jim Pirolli with Kum & Go the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award.

Also during the event, Kum & Go was awarded the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award, to honor a retailer who is supportive of ethanol. Ron Lamberty with ACE noted that the retailer has been an ongoing leader in ethanol selling E10 back in 1979, today as 170 E85 stations in 11 states. He praised them for stepping up for ethanol and for marketing the fuel aggressively and for being a leader in offering E15 to consumers.

Listen to Ron Lamberty’s remarks about Kum and Go here: Kum & Go Honored with Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Minnesota Coop to Offer E85 For 85 Cents A Gallon

pump3E85 (85 percent ethanol/15 percent gas) will be available for 85 cents a gallon at the Farmers Coop Elevator in Bellingham, Minnesota on Wednesday, August 19 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Located at 300 Railroad Road, the promotion will also offer a 30 cents per gallon discount on E30 and a 15 cents discount per gallon on E15. The fuels are only available for flex fuel vehicles (FFVs). To see if your car can run on higher blends of ethanol, visit www.MNFuels.com.

“These promotions are a great opportunity for drivers of flex fuel vehicles to give these cleaner-burning fuels a try,” said Robert Moffitt, communications director for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “Because flex fuel vehicles can also run on conventional gasoline blends, many owners don’t realize they can also use a fuel that reduces air pollution and usually costs less than gas.”

The American Lung Association in Minnesota recognizes the role cleaner-burning fuels like E85 have in reducing harmful tailpipe emissions and reducing air pollution. Other supporters include the Bellingham Farmers Elevator, Lac qui Parle County Corn & Soybean Growers, Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Clean Air Choice Team. For more information on the ethanol and other cleaner fuels available in Minnesota, visit www.CleanAirChoice.org.

Pearson Fuels to Sell E85 for $.85 in Sacramento

pearsonfuelsCalifornia-based Pearson Fuels will start selling E85 in the Sacramento area. And the company says it will celebrate the event by selling the green fuel for just 85 cents per gallon today between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The event is intended to introduce more members of the public to a fuel that many of their vehicles will burn. The event will be held at the following locations:

Shell 5103 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael, CA 95608

Shell 730 29th Street. Sacramento, CA 95816

Shell 3721 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA 95834

Shell 800 Ikea Court West Sacramento, CA 95691

Oliver Gas 1009 Oliver Road Fairfield, CA 94534

Pearson Fuels General Manager Mike Lewis states, “We are very proud to make this announcement. These five locations in Sacramento, West Sacramento and Fairfield are owned by some of the most progressive fuel station owners in the state. These stations were selling E85 before we made our agreement with them. We are happy to be working with them and helping to recognize and promote their progressive decision to offer something most stations do not. We encourage the public to vote with their dollars to improve the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

E15 Hot Topic at ACE Ethanol Conference

E15 will be a hot topic at the upcoming American Coalition for Ethanol Conference next week. The topic of how higher blends can help fuel retailers to succeed will be discussed during a panel in Omaha, Nebraksa August 19-21. Panelists include Todd Garner, CEO of ProTec Fuel and Jim Pirolli, VP of Fuels for Kum & Go. The August 20th dialogue will delve into the sale and handling of E15 and flex fuels.

aceAlso scheduled to speak August 20th is Kristi Moriarty, one of the authors of a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report investigating the true costs of E15 fueling infrastructure.

“The ethanol industry needs to understand the challenges facing fuel retailers who want to sell more ethanol-blended fuels. Last year’s conference presentation by single-station and small chain operators received overwhelmingly positive reviews, so we’re providing this year’s attendees with two additional perspectives from the ‘downstream’ fuel marketplace,” explained ACE Senior VP Ron Lamberty.

“Kum & Go is a large c-store retail chain with a history of leadership with E85, that can tell us why adding E15 isn’t as simple as decaling pumps and dropping fuel in the tank. ProTec is a fuel distributor with an interesting approach to expanding the availability of E15 and flex fuels by providing retailers with ethanol-blended fuels and the equipment needed to sell them,” he continued.

“And, Lamberty added, “on the topic of ‘equipment needed to sell E15,’ we’re excited to have NREL present their recent authoritative study on that very subject. It’s good news for fuel marketers, but fuel marketer groups seem strangely unhappy their $400,000 per store cost predictions have been proven wildly inaccurate.”

The theme of the August 19-21 ACE Conference is “Quiet Ingenuity, Bold Advance.” The event will also feature a talk on technology and advanced biofuel innovations involving Ray Defenbaugh, President and CEO of Big River Resources LLC, Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors, and Jeff Oestmann, President and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC, a progress report on ethanol and DDGs exports, ethanol plant board member training, and much more.

Governors Announce Ethanol Labeling Initiative

In an effort to promote the American Ethanol brand, Iowa and Nebraska Governors have announced a statewide pump labeling initiative to promote the use of ethanol blends including E10, E15, E30 and E85. Both states are offering the approved labels free of charge. The American Ethanol brand was introduced in 2011 when NASCAR adopted E15. So not to confuse consumers, “American Ethanol” is a “brand” only and is the same ethanol blended fuel offered across the country.

20100237579_1145286b14_o“This new brand label will provide a consistent consumer experience at pumps across the state and capitalize on the high profile that American Ethanol has enjoyed through the NASCAR partnership,” said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. “We want to make it even easier for consumers to find this clean-burning, high-performance fuel wherever they travel.”

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, added, “When it comes to air quality, American Ethanol-blended fuel burns cleaner. The new pump labels are a great way to inform consumers of the wealth of benefits American Ethanol-blended fuels provide. It is cost-effective, American-made, renewable and better for our environment.”

According to the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, fuel blended with ethanol burns cleaner and improves air quality compared to regular gasoline. They also cite ethanol fuel blends lower the level of toxic, cancer-causing emissions in vehicle exhaust—reducing air pollution, improving human health, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Several retail outlets have already begun displaying the American Ethanol label. All vehicles can use E10 while vehicles 2001 and newer can use E15. Flex-fuel vehicles can use any blend of ethanol up to E85.

Corn Growers: Build it and They Will Come

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has announced an additional $500,000 investment in Prime the Pump, a program that is expanding midlevel ethanol fueling infrastructure. The latest funds brings NCGA’s annual commitment in the program to $2 million. The organizations overseeing the E15-Blender-Pump-in-Cresco-IowaPrime the Pump program will use the monies as matching funds to secure grants under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USFA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership. The USDA has allocated $100 million in grants.

“The nation’s corn farmers have shown their commitment to domestically produced, clean burning ethanol repeatedly over the last 30 years and, when needed, have put their money where their mouth is,” said Chip Bowling, president of NCGA and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “Consumers should have fuel options that include cleaner burning ethanol and this investment will allow us to continue to move forward toward that important goal.”

Prime the Pump is aimed at retailers with high volumes and multiple locations. Retailers have to commit to a five-year marketing program, E15 must be offered at all dispensers under the canopy, signage on the street must include E15 and retailers must agree to actively promote the fuel.

“Big Oil and others opposed to ethanol keep setting up road blocks, so we need to work all the more to ensure domestic renewable ethanol moves forward,” added Bowling. “Family corn farmers are faced with the lowest corn prices in more than a decade and increased ethanol utilization is an efficient way to turn that around and help the U.S. economy and environment at the same time.”

Propel Fuels Leads California in E85

Propel Fuels has released a new white paper, “E85: A California Success Story,” that details their leadership as an E85 leader in California as well as in the U.S. Developed by the Propel Silicon Valley Workshop, the paper, and subsequent website, examines the productive role in what the paper terms as “low carbon E85” has had in enabling California to meet its carbon reduction and petroleum reduction targets, while improving air quality in the state’s severe non-attainment communities.

E85 a California Success Story“Thanks to smart public policy and a strong value proposition for consumers, California’s E85 use has become a success story, and a road map for our nation for implementing low carbon fuels,” said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel Fuels. “This research conclusively demonstrates that E85 is a successful, sustainable, cost-effective fuel that consumers are choosing when they have retail access.”

Today, California has more than 1 million flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) on their roads. Utilizing data collected by Propel’s research team coupled with work done by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and California Energy Commission (CEC), the paper highlights information on E85 market growth, consumer demographics, value perceptions, emissions reductions, and the future potential of E85.

Key research findings include:

  • California has the highest rate of E85 growth of any state in the nation. E85 use has expanded 600% in California since 2009, while gasoline demand has decreased.
  • E85 use has significant positive impacts on air quality, greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and petroleum reductions; providing air quality benefits in severe non-attainment areas by contributing 18-67% reduction in NOx as well as a 32% reduction in GHG emissions.
  • E85 use has specifically benefited CalEPA designated Disadvantaged Communities.
  • E85 is California’s value fuel, with 92% of users saying it is the same or better value than gasoline.
  • California’s 1 million FFVs can displace 600 million gallons of petroleum gasoline with E85.
  • California’s retail E85 volume per location exceeds the national average by 300%.
  • As a result of its policies, California is home to the lowest carbon ethanol in the country.