Illinois Corn Working to Support #Ethanol, E15

Ken Hartman-2I stopped by the Illinois Corn booth during the Farm Progress Show and had the opportunity to speak with Kenneth Hartman, an Illinois corn, soybean and wheat grower. He gave me an update on the their efforts to increase mid-level ethanol blends across the state. One such initiative is working with key players in Chicago to get 150 E15 stations up and running in the city. A piece of legislation is sitting with the Alderman and the mayor and Hartman hopes Mayor Rahm Emanuel will sign on the line for the E15 roll out yet this year.

Speaking of E15, Harmann said they are working with retailers across the state to build the infrastructure. They have been working with the American Lung Association and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board has allocated money to help with infrastructure through the Prime The Pump program. This program, he noted, provides matching funds for USDA’s BIP program. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the allocation of $100 million in program funds.

Other initiatives include working with pump manufacturers to get equipment standardized and approved for E15 as well as consumer education.

To learn more about Illinois Corn’s ethanol initiatives, listen to my interview with Ken Hartman: Ken Hartman, Illinois Corn Interview

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Orrie Swayze Says E30 is a Child’s Best Friend

According to the Clean Air Act, Memorandum 1A it is legal for all cars to use E30, a blend of 30 percent ethanol, 70 percent gasoline, according to Orrie Swayze, a long-time ethanol advocate. He is working along side the South Dakota Farmers Union to encourage drivers to use E30 – especially for the health benefits higher blends of ethanol offer to children.

20568763580_03f060c94f_zSwayze says the language has always been there, but “like the bible is subject to interpretation”. “It’s clear to me, says Swayze, “that it is legal to use E30 in a standard vehicle because you aren’t damage emissions equipment or degrading emissions.”

E30 is often known in the industry as the “sweet spot” and according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) is volatility neutral. NREL also classifies E30 as a super premium fuel. Ethanol runs cooler, provides better combustion and thus more power, explains Swayze.

Swayze along with the the South Dakota Farmers Union have created a special order of business to encourage farmers, and drivers, to use E30. Click here to read the proclamation.

But he notes that the biggest winners of ethanol use is not actually the drivers, but our children. E30, says Swayze who quoted an American Medical Association research report, helps to nearly eliminates engine created benzene and other known human carcinogenic emissions that destroy brain matter in growing children. He has outlined the information on his website, as an educational mechanism for consumers.

To learn more about the use of E30 and how it helps reduce air pollution, listen to my interview with Orrie Swayze: Orrie Swayze Says Use E30 for the Children

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

UN Data Shows No Food Price Rise from Ethanol

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) has released new data showing that global food prices in August experienced the steepest monthly drop since 2008, which casts doubt upon concerns about the impact of ethanol production in food price increases.

global-rfaAccording the the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA), the recent decline in food prices coincided with a period of record ethanol production expansion, reaching a high of 94 billion litres in 2014 from 83.5 billion litres in 2012, a 10% increase over this period.

The UN FAO Food Price Index averaged 155.7 points in August, down 5.2% from July, representing the steepest monthly drop since December 2008 with virtually all major food commodities registering marked dips. This drop coincides with a fall in crude oil prices in July of 19%, closing at $48.25USD per barrel on July 31.

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) has for several years argued that the price of oil and energy inputs are the single most influential drivers of food and commodity prices. A number of international institutions including the World Bank, International Energy Agency (IEA) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) have also recognised the strong relationship between oil prices and food prices.

Read more from GRFA.

Ethanol Report on Growing Biofuels Infrastructure

ethanol-report-adUSDA has announced new funding for biofuels infrastructure at fueling stations and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen thinks EPA should pay attention to that message. In this Ethanol Report, Dinneen also comments on what Congress may or may not do the rest of this session, and how another big corn crop makes keeping the RFS on track more important than ever.

Listen to this edition of the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on Growing Biofuels Infrastructure

American Ethanol “Top Gun” at Lake Ozark Shootout

Photo credit - george denny, Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

Photo credit – george denny, Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

American Ethanol made a big splash at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout held in central Missouri recently.

More than 100,000 spectators gathered to watch nearly 100 boats race along the one-mile course, and the boat crowned as the “Top Gun” was the American Ethanol 51-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran. The boat, named after its fuel, logged a top speed of 208 mph.

“The American Ethanol catamaran definitively proved that ethanol and marine engines are more than compatible,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “The team chose to run on ethanol because the fuel performs better and burns cooler than regular gasoline. Unsurprisingly, the second place boat was also powered by homegrown American ethanol,” Buis said.

The driver of the boat, Myrick Coil, said, “This boat accelerated harder than any boat I have ever been in. It was also the biggest boat I have ever driven. Those two things usually don’t go together!”

John Cosker, owner of Mystic Powerboats, added, “All of our hard work leading up to the event paid off when the boat came alive off of the start line and rocketed to a clocked speed of 208 mph. It showed America the power behind American Ethanol.”

The owner of the boat, Don Onken, echoed these sentiments and noted that, “We showcased the potential of American Ethanol at this event, and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish together. There’s only one thing left to do—figure out how to go faster next year.”

USDA Applauded for Biofuel Infrastructure Support

Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder

This morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement that 21 states will receive grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to help provide access to more renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. In response, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) applauded USDA for expanding its efforts to provide consumers with fuel choice at the pump through expanded ethanol blends. The program will help retail station owners pay for equipment they may need to offer higher ethanol blends such as E85.

“Secretary Vilsack has worked tirelessly to see that his vision of 10,000 blender pumps across the nation becomes reality, and the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership is another great example of his commitment to expanding markets for farmers’ products,” said ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty whose organization works with retailers and provide assistance through their FlexFuelForward website.

“BIP is a matching grant program, which means USDA also challenged states and ethanol supporters to step up and make equal or greater amounts of infrastructure funding available to station owners. The intended result is nearly a quarter of a billion dollars petroleum marketers can use to buy equipment and offer more ethanol blends to consumers. In many cases, station owners will pay little or nothing to add state-of-the-art blender dispensers and other equipment they may need to sell flex fuels and E15. We encourage retailers to apply for funding assistance through the appropriate state agencies,” Lamberty added.

Growth Energy also praised the USDA with CEO Tom Buis noting that the announcement is a “tremendous win” for American consumers. “It is unfortunate that the obligated parties refuse to follow the law and blend increasing amounts of renewable fuel,” said Buis, “but the steps by the administration and Secretary Vilsack will ensure higher ethanol blends, such as E15, penetrate the marketplace, and provide consumers with a choice and savings they deserve.” Continue reading

USDA Announces Funding for Biofuel Infrastructure

USDA logoAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 21 states will receive grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to help provide access to more renewable fuels for America’s drivers.

“The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one approach USDA is using to aggressively pursue investments in American-grown renewable energy to create new markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, help Americans save money on their energy bills, support America’s clean energy economy, cut carbon pollution and reduce dependence on foreign oil and costly fossil fuels,” said Vilsack.

USDA estimates that the BIP grants will support nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations across the country. “Our investment will nearly double the number of pumping systems available across the U.S.,” Vilsack said. According to the list of estimated numbers of pumps that could be installed per state, Florida and Texas will be the biggest beneficiaries with 892 in Florida and 763 in Texas. Minnesota at 620 and Illinois at 428 are the largest recipients in the Midwest.

Secretary Vilsack also challenged conclusions in the American Petroleum Institute report out yesterday that he called “preposterous.”

Listen to Vilsack’s announcement here: USDA Secretary Vilsack biofuels investment

Q and A with reporters: Vilsack answers BIP questions

Ethanol Groups Attack API Report

Ethanol organizations responded Wednesday to what they say is a “flawed study” released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that concludes “statutory biofuel mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are infeasible to achieve in 2015 and beyond and could cause severe harm to consumers and the U.S. economy.”

rfalogo1Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen says the talking points in the study commissioned by NERA Economic Consulting (NERA) are nothing new from the oil industry.

“It’s déjà vu all over again,” said Dinneen. “This study is virtually identical to a study that NERA published for API in 2012. The conclusions of both analyses are completely divorced from reality… API was wrong in 2012, and it’s wrong in 2015.”

“This newest API study contains many of the same fatal flaws that plagued the 2012 study. This study claims that gas prices will rise by $90 a gallon and diesel will rise by $100 per gallon. It foolishly assumes EPA will not ever utilize its cellulosic waiver authority to partially reduce the advanced and total RFS volume requirements. And it also assumes obligated parties would purchase a RIN credit at any price rather than making modest infrastructure investments to expand renewable fuel distribution.”

growth-energy-logo1Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says that API is “repackaging stale, false talking points” about the RFS. “(D)espite what API claims, over 84 percent of cars on the road today are approved to use E15,” said Buis. “Regardless of what API claims, the bottom line is that ethanol blends help clean the environment, are higher performing, less expensive and directly benefit the consumer by providing a choice and savings.”

Fuels America stressed that API doesn’t speak for fuel retailers who tell a story about the benefits of higher blend fuels. “When consumers have a choice, there is no blend wall,” said Dave Sovereign, owner and operator of the Cresco Fast Stop.

“We need to be supporting homegrown renewables. We need to be blending more ethanol into our fuel supply, not less,” said Cheryl Near, owner of Jump Start gas station in Wichita, Kansas. “We need blender pumps, we need to buy direct from the ethanol plants, and then we can pass our savings on to the consumers.”

Car Clinic Expert Dispels Ethanol Myths

likis-smallA recent attack on ethanol by a so-called automobile expert has been answered by a true car maestro who knows the value of the green fuel. Bobby Likis of the Car Clinic Car-Talk Network blasted Lauren Fix and her claims against ethanol.

Yes, something needs to be fixed. And it’s not ethanol. What needs to be fixed is the egregiously incorrect perception of ethanol like that perpetuated by Lauren Fix, whether spurred by naiveté, ignorance or special interest. Ms. Fix’s mutations of the truth are analogous to clinging to “the world is flat” and are so insidiously woven through her interview that extracting and correcting all of the fallacies would take more than Columbus and his three little ships…

Likis stakes his 44 years of experience as an award-winning automotive service shop owner with more than 200,000 vehicles (from classics to hybrids) rolling through the bays; rear-end dragster / engine builder; car-talk host answering more than 100,000 car questions live on radio, television, web & social media against Fix’s spurious claims.

1. Perception / Myth / Ms. Fix:
Corn was not designed to run through engines; ethanol-blended fuels must have fuel additives to ensure burn (mentioning three brands specifically and stating that car owners need to add one of these additives to every tankful of E10); ethanol is so damaging that it is not used in race cars.

These overwhelming no-merit statements are not based on fact. Henry Ford’s first car “1896 Quadricycle” ran on E100 (100% ethanol). And Mr. Ford’s 1908 Model-T was America’s first Flex-Fuel car. E15 is the most tested fuel ever…to the tune of the equivalent of 12 round trips to the moon (6 million miles). No discernable difference was found in engine wear between E15 and other test fuels in the tested model years (2001 and later). NASCAR powers its cars with E15 fuel (85% gasoline with 15% ethanol). Indy racecars run E98. Why 98% rather than 100%? Glad you asked. By adding 2% gasoline, pit crews would be able to see smoke in case there’s a fire. Ethanol burns so cleanly that 100% would be all but invisible to spot if a fire did break out, which can happen when cars going 225 mph run into each other or the wall.

Speaking of clean burning, ethanol replaced MTBE (which replaced lead in gasoline) as an oxygenate. By adding 10% ethanol to gasoline, many cities are able to reach clean air requirements that otherwise would not be possible. Ford’s EcoBoost and GM’s Ecotec engines thirst for high octane, and ethanol delivers. Thousands of car owners across America who drive high-performance (but non-flex-fuel) vehicles on the street want an E85 option. One example is my General Manager who owns a 2015 Subaru WRX STI diligently searched for E85. Why? E85 adds another 70 HP and 100 lbft torque to the existing 346 HP, all-wheel vehicle. Ethanol – with its 113 octane rating – is an enabler of power & performance.

Likis goes on to destroy Fix’s claims that ethanol destroys Air Mass Sensors and O2 Sensors, that the green fuel causes free-standing water in fuel, and that ethanol destroys engines.

So, the world is not flat. And egregiously incorrect perceptions of ethanol need to be fixed. We as a country need to be power-moving toward economic independence, superior engine design, cleaner air and fuel economy. A future which Facts show that Ethanol enables.

Association Motor Club Proudly Supports Ethanol

Gene Hammond, Co-Owner with Association Motor Club Marketing (AMCM), supports the use of E15. Over the past few years, despite evidence to the contrary, AAA does not support the use of E15. However, competitor AMCM does and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is calling on drivers to support a company that supports ethanol.

Gene Hammond Association Motor Club MarketingHammond explained that four years after EPA approval of E15 and two years after AAA declared it was premature back in 2012, his company began looking into their claims, and not one service claim in two years was related to ethanol. As a result, Hammond approached ACE with their findings and a partnership was solidified.

Hammond was born on a farm in South Dakota and he knows first-hand what ethanol has done for America. So have others, he said. Many new customers have joined because his company supports the use of ethanol blends.

The 50+ year old motor club has more than 19 million members in 50 states and Hammond said his company’s focus is on providing unmatched service for their members. As a result, “reality” trumps all and with no car problems related to the fuel, he encourages drivers to give E15 a try.

Ethanol supporters ready to make the switch (I did) should go to and click on the “Ethanol Supporters” tab to receive a membership discount.

To learn more about the Association Motor Club Marketing and their support of ethanol, listen to my interview with Gene Hammond: Interview with Gene Hammond, AMCM

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos