E15 Approved for 2016 Fiat Chrysler Models

2016-jeep Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had approved the use of E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) in its model year 2016 Chrysler/Fiat, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles.

According to the new owners manuals for the vehicles, “Non-Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) are compatible with gasoline containing up to 15% ethanol (E15).” The decision means that FCA joins General Motors and Ford in covering E15 in its warranty statements. GM started covering E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined a year later with its MY 2013 vehicles. More than 12 percent of the vehicles sold so far in the United States in 2015 have been FCA vehicles.

“FCA’s decision to join GM and Ford provides clear evidence that the tide on E15 has turned,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “FCA customers will be afforded a benefit that will likely lower their weekly motor fuel bill: the freedom to choose what fuel to put into their vehicles.”

RFA has been concerned about FCA’s reluctance to embrace E15 for the past three years, and Dinneen specifically called on Chrysler to approve E15 during his State of the Industry address at this year’s National Ethanol Conference.

RFA to AMA: Stop Propagating E15 Untruths

As the biofuels industry celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is calling on consumers to support legislation to stop the use and sales of E15 (15 percent ethanol/85 percent gasoline). In a press release AMA states, “The first 10 years under the Renewable Fuel Standard, established in 2005, represent a decade of misinformation from the ethanol lobby concerning safe fuel for your motorcycle.”

sturgis-15-1The Association is calling on motorcyclists to contact their representative and ask him/her to cosponsor the RFS Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 704) sponsored by U.S Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Peter Welch (D-VT). The bill would amend the RFS and prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from allowing any station to sell gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol (E10) and require those selling E15 to stop.

In response to AMA, the Renewable Fuels Association’s (RFA) Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White said, “Once again, the AMA is engaging in scare tactics and spreading misinformation about E15. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before. AMA’s claims that E15 will suddenly become available at every fuel station in the country and replace E10, so that there will no longer be any legal fuel for motorcycles to use, are patently false. E15 has been on the market for three years and no motorcycle has misfueled using the higher ethanol blend or has been denied a warranty claim. Plus, the AMA ignores the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that the fuel dispenser label clearly identify what vehicles can and cannot use E15. Does the AMA believe that motorcyclists can’t read?”

White said that the availability for motorcycles to use E10, which is approved for use in motorcycle engines, increased last year, and that more E10 than E0 was sold last year than in the previous year. Earlier this month, RFA was at the 75th Anniversary of Sturgis where they spoke with bikers about ethanol.

“The AMA has gone to great lengths to confuse what the RFS means for consumers,” White continued. “The law states that gasoline refiners and importers must purchase and blend renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel, or purchase credits. Most producers choose to blend renewable fuels because ethanol is cheaper than gasoline and has an octane rating of 113, but the availability of credits assures no marketer will ever have to offer higher level ethanol blends if they don’t want to.” Continue reading

EIA: Outage Increased Midwest Gas Prices

eia-outageNew data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirms that the unplanned outage earlier this month of a 240,000-barrels-per-day unit at a refinery in Whiting, Indiana, caused gas prices to spike throughout the Midwest.

The outage occurred on August 8 and EIA notes that regular gasoline prices in the Midwest increased by 32 cents a gallon within the following week, from $2.47 the week of the outage to $2.79 a gallon on August 17. EIA says it was “the largest weekly increase for Midwest gasoline prices since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.”

“The EIA data show that the refinery outage made a serious dent in the wallets of consumers,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, which released a statement in response to the unplanned shutdown. “The Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama Administration have all the tools they need at their disposal to assist in blunting the consumer impacts of the refinery outage. We, once again, call on EPA to immediately waive RVP requirements for E15 and also allow E12 blending in the Midwest region.”

According to EIA, it can take markets days or weeks to adjust to the sudden loss of production during unplanned outages, often resulting in sudden price increases. The severity and duration of the higher prices depend on how quickly the refinery problem can be resolved, how soon alternative sources of supply can arrive, and the marginal cost to bring alternative supply to the region.

RFA to EPA: Provide Consumers Relief at Pump

In light of a refinery shutdown of the BP plant in Whiting, Indiana that produces 240,000-barrels-per-day, the Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen is asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide consumers relief at the pump. Late last week, gas prices jumped an average of 80 cents per gallon overnight in several states including Illinois, Michigan Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Wisconsin as well as other states including Iowa.

BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana. Photo Credit: GasBuddy.com

BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana. Photo Credit: GasBuddy.com

“The Whiting refinery outage demonstrates, once again, the folly of relying too heavily on one source of motor fuel. It’s worth noting that the refinery represents just 6 percent of the Midwest region’s refining capacity (and just 1 percent of national refining capacity); yet retail gas prices in some Midwest markets have spiked by 50 cents per gallon or more,” said Dinneen. “This is exactly why we need to further diversify our nation’s fuel supply and allow more renewable fuels by removing arcane barriers erected by the oil companies and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Using more low-cost ethanol would absolutely help insulate consumers from these kinds of price shocks.”

Dinneen said that the total lost gasoline output, nearly 120,000 barrels per day, could be offset by increasing ethanol blends from E10 to E15. He sourced ethanol prices in the Chicago wholesale market as around $1 per gallon lower than gas. It should be noted that during the summer months, E15 is only allowed to be used by flex fuel vehicles although the rest of the year the ethanol blend can be used by all vehicles manufactured in 2001 or newer.

“That means, Dinneen said, “if refiners and blenders serving the Midwest market immediately switched to producing E15 to blunt the impacts of this refinery outage, gas prices would instantly fall by at least 5 cents per gallon and drivers in the Midwest would save about $6 million per day. In reality, the price impacts would likely be even more significant, as ramping up ethanol blending would immediately take the pressure off tightening gasoline stocks and ease wholesale gasoline prices.”

Dinned added, “EPA and the Obama Administration have all the tools they need to help alleviate this situation quickly. We call on EPA to immediately waive RVP requirements for E15 and also allow E12 blending—based on the fact that it is substantially similar to E10—in the Midwest region to facilitate expanded ethanol blending and blunt the consumer impacts of this refinery outage.”

North Dakota Firefighters to Get Ethanol Training

rfalogo1Firefighters in North Dakota will get some training on ethanol safety. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and North Dakota Firefighter’s Association will co-host seven free Ethanol Safety Seminars this month across the state, focusing on numerous areas of ethanol safety to target first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, as well as the general public.

Starting Aug. 17, Ethanol Safety Seminars will be held in the following locations:

Aug. 17: Bowman Fire Department in Bowman | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 18: Dickinson Fire Department in Dickinson | 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Aug. 18: Richardton Fire Department in Richardton | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 19: Washburn Fire Department in Washburn | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 24: Stutsman County Law Emergency Center in Jamestown | 9 a.m.–2 p.m. & 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 26: Hankinson Fire Department in Hankinson | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 27: Larimore Fire Department in Larimore | 5:30–10 p.m.

The goal of these seminars is for attendees to gain a complete ethanol emergency response training experience that they can put to use immediately in the field and pass along to other first response teams. A majority of this training is based on the “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” a training package created by the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) that has been distributed throughout the United States and to several countries worldwide. These seminars are funded through a grant from the Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“The North Dakota Firefighter’s Association is honored to partner with the Renewable Fuels Association to provide the Ethanol Safety Seminars to seven different locations throughout North Dakota,” said Renee Loh, executive director of the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association. “NDFA is grateful that this training can be offered to the first responders of North Dakota! We encourage all first responders to register for this important class.”

RFA officials say it is important that communities have the know-how to respond to ethanol emergencies quickly and effectively. Incidents are rare, but should they occur, these seminars will give first responders the necessary training they need to keep the public safe.

To register for a session, go to www.rfa.traincaster.com.

Celebrating a Decade of Success with the RFS

2005-energy-billAugust 8, 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) containing the original Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) being signed into law by President George W. Bush.

The signing ceremony took place at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where President Bush noted that the bill he was signing into law would “…lead to greater diversity of fuels for cars and trucks. The bill includes tax incentives for producers of ethanol and biodiesel. The bill includes a flexible, cost-effective renewable fuel standard that will double the amount of ethanol and biodiesel in our fuel supply over the next seven years. Using ethanol and biodiesel will leave our air cleaner. And every time we use home-grown fuel, particularly these, we’re going to be helping our farmers, and at the same time, be less dependent on foreign sources of energy.”

ethanol-report-adRenewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen remembers that day very well, particularly the support that the new law had from the oil industry. “It would not have happened without the support of the American Petroleum Institute,” said Dinneen. “They wanted out of MTBE, they wanted to have an argument in court that would protect them from the lawsuits against MTBE, so they were supportive of a growing market for renewable fuels.”

However, Dinneen notes that the oil industry underestimated the ability of farmers and the ethanol industry to gear up and produce such significant quantities of the domestic fuel that they surpassed the original goal of 7.5 billion gallons for 2012 six years early. “The program was an immediate and overwhelming success … and it led to RFS2 being passed in 2007,” said Dinneen.

Dinneen recounts the success of the RFS over the past decade and how it has changed energy, economic, and rural policy in this edition of The Ethanol Report. Ethanol Report on RFS 10th Anniversary

Bikers Line Up for Free 10% Ethanol

sturgis-15-bikersFrom the Midwest to Mexico, the west coast to the east coast, every state and various countries – bikers of all stars and stripes love the word free, especially when it comes to fuel for their rides. That made the fourth annual Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) “Free Fuel Happy Hours” a big draw at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground this week.

RFA pumped 1,872 gallons of 93 octane, 10 percent ethanol in four days this week for bikers in town for the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Many bikers came back every day to fill their tanks, as they spent their days traveling through the beautiful Black Hills. RFA also gave away lots of free t-shirts, coozies, and information about how E10 is approved for use in any motorcycle – not any higher blends.

We talked to a few of the bikers who came through to fill up, including a guy from Mexico City, a farmer from Wisconsin, and others from Iowa, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Interviews with bikers filling up with E10

2015 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with RFA at the Buffalo Chip Photos

Ethanol Exports Down, DDGS Exports Hit Records

A new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association shows that while ethanol exports dropped in June, the export of dried distillers grains (DDGS), a by-product of ethanol production, set an all-time record.

juneethanolexports
U.S. ethanol exports retreated for the third month in a row in June, according to RFA analysis of government data released today, dropping 7% from May to 60.2 million gallons (mg). Canada (22.9 mg, or 38%), the United Arab Emirates (12.7 mg, or 21%) and the Philippines (7.4 mg, or 12%) accounted for the bulk of exports in June, followed by South Korea (4.2 mg) and the Netherlands (4.2 mg). No ethanol exports were shipped to Brazil in June. Outside of Canada, Brazil has been the largest customer for U.S. ethanol exports, averaging 12.3 mg per month over the past five years. Through the first half of the year, exports stood at 437 mg, indicating an annualized rate of 874 mg.

June exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product manufactured by dry mill ethanol plants—bounded 12% higher to 1,306,623 metric tons (mt), breaking the previous monthly record set in July 2014. Monthly exports to China reached an historic high of 967,529 mt in June—with China maintaining a 74% market share for the second month in a row. Exports to the rest of the world in June reversed a 7-month decline as monthly export volumes increased 10%. Mexico (76,784 mt, or 6% of exports), Canada (38,501 mt), Egypt (35,197 mt), Thailand (23,982 mt) and Ireland (22,700 mt) captured most of the remaining global market for U.S. DDGS in June. Year-to-date exports for 2015 are 5.8 million mt, implying an annualized total 11.6 million mt—almost one-third of projected domestic production.

Meanwhile, ethanol imports also fell again in June to just 717,320 gallons of denatured product. Almost all of that imported ethanol (99 percent) came from Spain.

RFA Intern Pumps Ethanol for Bikers

sturgis-15-austinAustin Ludowese is a Minnesota farm boy majoring in business education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout but this week he is pumping E10 at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground to help educate bikers about ethanol.

This is Ludowese’s last week of a two month internship with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) which he says has been a great experience. “Working with RFA has been great,” he said. “It’s good to see how passionate people are in the industry and the kind of work they put in to promote not only using ethanol but educating as well, which is what we’re doing here in Sturgis.”

During his time with RFA this summer, Ludowese has traveled to Washington DC and to the EPA hearing in Kansas City where he testified about the importance of ethanol to his family farm in Minnesota. “Ethanol has always been a huge part of my family, as far as farming, we deliver all of our corn to ethanol plants,” he said, adding that learning more about the policy side of the industry will help him when he returns to farming after graduating from college. His brother Evan interned with RFA last year.

RFA will be continuing “Free Fuel Happy Hours” at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground where Ludowese will be filling motorcycle tanks with 93 octane E10 from 1-4 pm today and tomorrow.

Listen to an interview with Austin here: Interview with Austin Ludowese, RFA intern

2015 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with RFA at the Buffalo Chip Photos

EPA Recalculates 2014 Ethanol Export Estimates

rfalogo1The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recalculated its ethanol export estimates for 2014. The EPA’s acknowledgement that it made an error in determining the 2014 available supply of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) drew praise from Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

“Kudos to the EPA for recognizing this important error and reassessing the 2014 ethanol export data,” said Dinneen. “This is a critical issue because it affects the estimate of how many RINs generated in 2014 will remain available for compliance with biofuel obligations required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It also has implications for estimates of RIN carryover stocks.”

The memo comes after RFA and member biofuel companies raised the issue in correspondence with the EPA in early June and again at a public hearing on June 25 on the RFS in which dozens of commenters took issue with the agency’s proposal to slash the renewable blending volume obligations (RVOs) for 2014–2016.

According to the memo, “… public commenters indicated that they believed it was an error to treat the reported amounts of undenatured ethanol as being part of the 2014 supply of RINs. Ethanol that is exported in undenatured form would not have generated RINs, and thus should not have been subtracted from the total number of RINs generated for fuel ethanol in 2014 for purposes of calculating the available supply of RINs for 2014 in the proposal. EPA intends to account for this…in the determination of the appropriate volume requirements in the final rulemaking.”

The RFA says the recalculation could increase the blending obligation for renewable fuel from a proposed level of 13.25 billion gallons to more than 13.6 billion gallons.