Save the Date for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

2016-Summit-LogoMark your calendar for the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit taking place Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), the event is free and open to the public.

“Our 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit is set to be bigger and better than ever,” said IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “With so much discussion over the Renewable Fuel Standard, and with the Iowa Caucuses right around the corner, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will be a great place to learn and engage on the latest renewable fuels issues.”

Although the Summit is free, registration is required and now open. Click here to learn more about the event, to register and to obtain information about sponsorship and trade show opportunities.

IRFA Updates Look, Website

Iowa RFA logo-newThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has updated their brand look including a enhance logo and website with additional features that includes more consumer-friendly information about biofuels.

Some of the key website updates include:

  • Enhanced Homepage: Sleek, responsive web design with larger images, a comprehensive menu option, and quick links to take you to the latest and greatest on renewable fuels.
  • Fueling Your Vehicle Center: A dedicated page for motorists, complete with fuel recommendations based on vehicle types, and Iowa E15, E85 and biodiesel fueling station finders.
  • Retailer Center: If you’re a fuel retailer looking to gain a competitive advantage with renewable fuel blends, this is the place for you. Information on fuels, state tax credits, and more are just one click way.
  • Resources and Statistics: Improved stats on the production and benefits of renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, as well as other great informational resources.

IRFA Communications Director T.J. Page said of the refreshed brand, “With so much attention on renewable fuels, we’ve redesigned our website and refreshed our logo to better serve audiences of all backgrounds. Along with an updated, responsive web design, we’ve added new features like an Iowa E15, E85, and biodiesel fuel station finder, a consumer center to address questions about fueling with biofuels, and an enhanced retailer center aimed at aiding Iowa retailers in their search to find a competitive advantage with renewable fuels blends. A lot has changed with the IRFA website, but what has stayed the same is it’s still a great resource for all things renewable fuels.”

In other news, IRFA is hosting its 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, free for to attend and open to the public, taking place January 19, 2016 at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Two key topics of discussion will be the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the upcoming Iowa Caucuses. Online registration is now open.

Iowa Biodiesel Producers Push for Tax Incentive

IowaRFAlogoIowa biodiesel producers are pushing for a renewal of the federal $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) sent a letter to all members of the Iowa Congressional delegation urging them to pass a multi-year biodiesel tax incentive.

“While facing more than a century of uninterrupted subsidies for petroleum, the biodiesel tax incentive has been allowed to expire four times in six years,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Now more than ever, the biodiesel community needs certainty and a level playing field in order to continue to build upon the vast energy security, economic and air quality benefits producing and using biodiesel currently provides to this country.”

The letters stated, “We urge you to do all you can to push for swift passage of a tax extenders package that includes an amendment to shift the biodiesel tax incentive to a producer’s credit, as was unanimously passed out of the Senate Finance Committee in the Tax Relief Extension Act of 2015 (S.1946) on July 21, 2015.

“The biodiesel tax incentive is a proven job creator that is critically important to the U.S. biodiesel industry, and specifically to Iowa biodiesel producers. However, the $1.00 per gallon incentive lapsed on January 1, 2015, marking the fourth time in six years that the incentive has expired—even as favorable tax incentives for petroleum have continued uninterrupted for more than a century. This has created significant disruption and uncertainty in the industry. It is imperative that Congress end this piecemeal tax policy for biodiesel by passing a long-term tax incentive that paves the way for growth.”

The entire biodiesel industry is not quite in harmony on the renewal of the tax incentive. Last week, the Advanced Biofuels Producers Association stated its opposition to an amendment by Sens. Charles Grassley and Maria Cantwell, which would extend the $1-per-gallon federal credit, but would convert the credit from one for blenders (those who make biodiesel mixtures) to one for those who produce biodiesel and renewable diesel.

Iowa is a major producer of biodiesel, with 12 biodiesel facilities able to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.

E15 Offered in Iowa, Again

E15 is being sold to consumers across Iowa who drive vehicles newer than 2001, again. The ethanol blend, that was still sold to flex-fuel vehicle drivers during the summer months, is not allowed to be sold in the state June 1-September 15, an issue that the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has been working to eliminate.

“E15 is the lowest-cost fuel for the vast majority of Iowans on the road today, and we’re excited 2001 and newer vehicle owners across the state can once again reap the benefits of E15,” said IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “With millions of miles already driven on E15, Iowa motorists can choose E15 with confidence, knowing it’s a safe, economical fueling option that provides nearly identical fuel economy to E10.”

E15 pump at Kum and Go

The label on an E15 pump at a Kum & Go retail station in Des Moines, IA when only FFVs drivers can legally fill up their tanks with E15 during the summer months. Photo: Joanna Schroeder

The halt of sales is due to a quirk in federal regulation. The EPA has yet to equalize the vapor pressure regulations for E10 and E15 during the summer driving season, from June 1 through September 15. As a result, the sale of E15 in Iowa is restricted to flex-fuel vehicles only during that timeframe. To re-introduce E15 into the marketplace in Iowa, the IRFA is kicking-off a consumer education campaign to inform motorists of the benefits of E15.

“There’s loads of interest in E15 among Iowa drivers, and quite a bit of misinformation out there, so we’re doing our part to educate motorists on the benefits of this more American-made fuel,” Norton added. “IRFA staff and ethanol supporters will be at many Iowa E15 stations over the next few weeks, talking with drivers about cleaner-burning E15, while many stations offer special E15 discounts.”

IRFA’s E15 consumer education program starts September 18, 2015 with events at Murphy USA in Indianola, Iowa and Good & Quick in Nevada, Iowa. Murphy USA, located at 1502 N. Jefferson St. in Indianola, Iowa, will offer E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles at a 75-cent per gallon discount to 87-octane E10 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Good & Quick, located at 519 Lincoln Highway in Nevada, Iowa, will offer registered E15 for a 15-cent per gallon discount from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Additionally, Cenex Ampride in Eagle Grove and Fort Dodge, Iowa, will host consumer education events on September 22. Supplementary consumer education events will be announced in the near future.

Farmers Cooperative Hosting Grand Opening

FClogo_bigFarmers Cooperative Company, in conjunction with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), will be holding a Grand Opening event Tuesday, September 22nd to promote their new biofuel offerings. The Mount Ayr location (400 East South Street Mount Ayr, IA) will offer E15 for $1.15 per gallon and E85 for $.85 per gallon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. A free lunch will also be served to those who fill up with biofuels.

The retail station is also selling biodiesel blends including B5, B11 B20, B30 and B99.

“Thanks to Farmers Cooperative Company and Governor Branstad’s ‘Fueling Our Future’ program, Mount Ayr-area motorists will now have a wide range of cleaner-burning fuel choices when it comes to ethanol and biodiesel blends,” said IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “Not only will nearby motorists benefit from E15, the lowest-cost fuel for the vast majority of vehicles on the road, diesel customers will be able to take advantage of increased fuel lubricity from more environmentally-friendly biodiesel blends, like B20.”

Jeb Bush Kicks off Fair Speech on Energy

Republican Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and presidential hopeful, kicked off his time on the Presidential Soapbox promoting his support of renewable energy and agriculture. Florida has a huge agriculture community and is home to one of the first advanced cellulosic facilities, Ineos Bio located in Vera Beach, that began production in May of 2013. The plant uses wood, plant and landfill waste. And this May, the Advanced Disposal plant began producing gas-to-energy from the emissions created by the Sarasota County, Florida landfill.

Bush began his Jeb Bush at Presidential Soapboxremarks by focusing on an America in decline. But unlike his predecessors, he enveloped his support of two of Iowa’s largest industry’s – renewable energy and agriculture – at the very beginning of his talk rather than waiting until he was asked by an Iowa State fairgoer his stand of the two issues.

Bush noted that the EPA, through its Clean Air Act, “will stifle the ability for industry to be created and agriculture to work leading the world”. “We have serious, serious problems,” continued Bush. “We need to embrace the energy revolution, and be energy secure with North American resources in a short period of time with American ingenuity, American innovation and American technology.”

Listen to why Jeb Bush wants to be president here:Jeb Bush at the Iowa State Fair

Click here to read our coverage of the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox series at the Iowa State Fair.

Iowa E15 Retailer Grants Available

Iowa fuel retailers interested in adding E15 ethanol blends to their consumer fuel options have an opportunity to apply for grants through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). The program gives retailers financial assistance to install or upgrade fuel dispensing equipment to offer E15.

E15 at Des Moines Iowa Kum and Go station

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

“Adding E15 to the state renewable fuels infrastructure program provides a missing link to expanding mid-level ethanol blends, and providing another low-cost fuel option to more than 80 percent of the vehicles on the road today,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. IRFA was integral in getting the program passed. “We already have retailers lining up to take advantage of this new eligibility because they have customers asking for cleaner-burning E15. Iowa retailers want to provide economical fuel choices to their customers, and E15 is the lowest-cost fuel on the market for the majority of vehicles on the road, so it’s getting a lot of attention.”

Since 2007, the Iowa RFIP has provided cost-share grants to increase the accessibility of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends. The program provides monetary assistance for the installation of blender pumps and E85 and biodiesel dispensing equipment, as well as bulk biodiesel terminal storage tanks. This year, the RFIP was expanded to also provide financial assistance for the upgrade or installation of dispensing equipment for the purpose of offering E15 as a registered fuel. Qualifying projects are eligible for up to 70 percent of the installation costs, or a maximum of $50,000 per retail location.

In a recent poll when participants were asked if they would consider using E15 if they owned a 2001 and newer vehicle and it was cheaper than E10, 70 percent said yes. Additionally, 76 percent of respondents who said they would purchase E15 also said they would drive out of their way to buy E15 to save between 5 and 10 cents per gallon, if their usual station did not offer E15.

“This poll shows what we expected: an overwhelming amount of Iowans support the use of lower-cost, cleaner-burning E15,” Norton added. “For the vast majority of Iowa’s E15 retailers, E15 is often being sold 5 to 10 cents cheaper than E10, and with more than three-quarters of Iowa E15 supporters willing to drive out of their way to save with E15, fuel retailers should take notice.”

RFS Comments Piled High at EPA Doors

Boxes upon boxes of comments relating to the Renewable Fuel Standard were delivered to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) doors yesterday as the comment period ended for the final 2014/2015 rule. Despite clear legislation on the amount of renewable volumetric obligations (RVOs) for all facets of renewable fuels, the EPA lowered the amount of corn-ethanol required to be blended in America’s fuel supply. During the timeframe allocated for comments, the biofuels industry came together not only in support of the industry but to call on the EPA to “get back on track” and put the RVOs at minimum at the levels set by legislation.

Leaders from the National Farmers Union and I Am Biotech delivered more than 200,000 comments on behalf of Fuels America to the EPA.

Leaders from the National Farmers Union and I Am Biotech delivered more than 200,000 comments on behalf of Fuels America to the EPA.

Fuels America collected more than 200,000 written comments while turned in nearly 47,000 petition signatures calling on the EPA to strengthen the RFS.

“It is absolutely crucial, for the wellbeing of our military, and our national security, that we lessen our dependence on oil,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq veteran and chairman of  “A strong RFS is a key part of that equation.  It is very simple – every drop of renewable fuel in our gasoline means one less drop of oil.  The EPA should listen to those who love and support our military, and care about our national security, and strengthen the RFS.”

Last week the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) held an RFS rally where hundreds of corn growers from across the country called the EPA to task and told them to “stay the course”. A letter submitted by NCGA states, “The RFS has spurred growth in agriculture, increased energy diversity and decreased GHG emissions from fossil fuels through the development of renewable energy resources. We urge the Agency to stay the course and support this important piece of transformational energy policy, and we request it reconsider its proposed reduction in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 renewable volume obligations.”

Also submitting a letter along with comments was the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The letter, authored by President and CEO Bob Dinneen, called the proposal “surprising” and imprudent” and he charged the EPA with buying into the oil industry’s false narrative regarding the so-called blend wall. By doing so, he wrote, “EPA has unnecessarily and illegally curtailed the unprecedented evolution occurring in the transportation fuels market that was delivering technology innovation, carbon reduction, and consumer savings.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE0 also submitted comments that included E15 sales data demonstrating that consumers are choosing ethanol at the pump. Executive Vice President Brian Jennings wrote, “The RFS is intended to reduce the GHG emissions of motor fuel and provide consumer access to E15 and flex fuels which are less expensive and cleaner than gasoline. These sweeping goals will not be realized if EPA continues to ride the brakes on the RFS. Issuance of the final RFS in November has consequences beyond trying to get the program back on track.  The decision will come at the same time the President prepares to negotiate an international agreement to reduce GHG emissions in Paris.  What an embarrassment it will be if EPA betrays the Administration’s commitment to curb climate change by restricting the use of low carbon biofuels in the U.S.” Continue reading

Iowa RFA President at American Ethanol 200

Iowa RFA president Brian Cahill (right) interviewed by KMA radio at American Ethanol 200

Iowa RFA president Brian Cahill (right) interviewed by KMA radio at American Ethanol 200

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association president Brian Cahill of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy was at the NASCAR American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen last Friday to support ethanol and this week he will be in Kansas City, Kansas to do the same.

Iowa RFA members will be among those testifying at a public hearing on Thursday to explain what is wrong with EPA’s latest proposal to set volume obligations for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “We’ll be testifying to show the benefits that ethanol provides to the whole country and also get the message across that EPA just can’t change the law,” said Cahill, who says that having the hearing in the Midwest will allow many RFS supporters to attend. “There’s more than just ethanol involved in this so hopefully we’ll see a good show of support for the biofuels industry in Kansas City.”

In this interview from the race on Friday, Cahill also talks about why growers who supply corn for his plant grow Syngenta Enogen, a corn trait designed specifically for ethanol production. Interview with Iowa RFA president Brian Cahill

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Iowa RFA Polls Show Importance of RFS

IowaRFAlogoNew polls from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) show support for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and those presidential candidates friendly toward the RFS. This news release from the group says the RFS and renewable fuels will be key issues for Iowans in the 2016 general election.

The poll, conducted by The Tarrance Group, shows “Iowa voters have an exceptionally favorable view of ethanol, with 72 percent favorable and only 11 percent unfavorable,” stated Tarrance Group President and CEO Ed Goeas. “This is virtually a universal opinion across geography and voter groups. Not a single subgroup of the electorate fails to hold a majority favorable opinion.”

Additionally, the poll results find that 57 percent of Iowa voters are less likely to support a candidate for public office who opposes an increase in ethanol use through the RFS. Similarly, 56 percent of voters oppose EPA’s recent proposal to reduce the RFS. Goeas noted, “Amazingly, not a single subgroup of the electorate favors this action.” He added, “[O]ur findings indicate that once voters hear the facts, the coalition against this is likely to grow.”

Meanwhile, this news release from the group shows that the top five Republican presidential candidates in the state are all backers of the RFS, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leading the pack with 19 percent, followed by Ben Carson at 13 percent, Jeb Bush at 11 percent, Marco Rubio at 9 percent and Mike Huckabee at 8 percent.

“As we have seen in other credible surveys of Republican caucus goers, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to set the pace in Iowa,” stated Editor-in-Chief Craig Robinson. “In one way or another, each the top five candidates in the poll have either publicly expressed support of leaving the current RFS in place or have backed an infrastructure grant program that would help ensure that consumers are allowed choice at the gas pump. These are vital issues to Iowa’s economy and it should no surprise that the 2016 candidates who understand the importance of renewable fuels issues are in the top tier of the poll.”