RFA Releases E15 Retailer New Equipment Guidance

E15 pump in Iowa. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

E15 pump in Iowa. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

With E15 offerings on the rise across the U.S., the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has released a guide to assist retailers with choosing legal equipment with which to dispense the renewable fuel. The E15 retailer new equipment guide provides information on how to properly offer E15 at the retailer level.

In addition, RFA is highlighting what they believe are key items retailers should consider before ordering equipment:

  • What are the equipment options to legally offer E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles?
  • What are the various dispenser hose configurations allowed?
  • What are the retail fuel dispenser labeling requirements for each configuration?

“Four years and 23 states later, confusion still remains in the fuel equipment and retailing communities when it comes to E15,” said Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “With this document, we hope we can eliminate the misinformation and ensure retailers get the appropriate equipment needed to safely and legally offer this relatively new fuel. With proper labeling and education, we look forward to seeing many more retailers, consumers and states embrace E15 in the near future.”

Indiana’s Family Express Awarded Blender Grant

fe-logoIndiana fuel retailer Family Express has been awarded more than $789,000 through an Indiana blender pump program. The retailer will be using the monies to install 45 dispensers at 37 stations. Of the stations, 34 already sell E85 and E15 will be added to the fuel choice lineup. Family Express is also building three new stations and these will carry both E85 and E15. The grant dollars were awarded by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council through its Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program.

“We are glad to be able to help Family Express offer more ethanol blender pumps through the Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program,” said Ken Parrent, ethanol director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. “Indiana currently has more than 185 dedicated ethanol refueling stations for blends above 10 percent and thanks to this program, there will soon be more.”

Fiftenn of the stations are in EPA-designated ozone non-attainment areas and will be able to offer E15 year-round. The ethanol industry is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow E15 to be sold year round in all 50 states.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said of the news, “We are pleased that Family Express has been able to take advantage of the Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program and grow its offerings of higher ethanol blends. More blender pumps mean greater consumer access for ethanol blends, bringing about higher octane fuels and lower gasoline prices. We look forward to more stations offering fuels such as E15 in the near future.”

Ethanol Provides Significant GHG Reductions

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is reaching its halfway point and a new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) find that grain-based ethanol has provided nearly half of the greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions achieved under the first five years of the program. Seven years ago, on April 23rd, California Air Resources Board (CARB) formally adopted the LCFS, and it officially kicked off in 2009. The program requires fuel suppliers to reduce carbon intensity (CI) of gas and diesel fuels by at least 10 percent between 2011 and 2020.

rfalogo1RFA says that when the legislation was adopted there was concern that corn-based ethanol would not succeed under the program. However, RFS says that according to data released by CARB recently, consumption of grain ethanol has increased under the LCFS and the biofuel has been responsible for 46 percent of the total carbon credits and nearly 75 percent of the credits generated by fuels that replace gas. (One credit is equivalent to 1 metric ton of GHG reduction). CARB reports that of the 16.55 million credits generated since enforcement began in 2011, grain ethanol is responsible for 7.58 million metric tons (MMT). To date, grain ethanol has provided substantially more credits than any other fuel used under the LCFS.

However, as shown in new RFA report, fuels that CARB initially expected to generate large amounts of credit — such as imported sugarcane ethanol, electricity, hydrogen — have accounted for only a small share of total credit generation.

RFA says corn-ethanol has provided significantly more carbon reductions that anticipated because, as CARB reports, “the volume of lower-CI corn ethanol will far exceed the 2009 estimates” and ethanol plants “have made efficiency improvements” that CARB had initially overlooked. Meanwhile, as part of CARB’s LCFS “re-adoption” process in 2015, the agency also made revisions to its ILUC penalty for corn ethanol, reducing it by roughly one-third. While CARB’s ILUC penalty remains grossly exaggerated, says RFA, the result of these changes is that most Midwest corn ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 25–35 percent compared to gasoline under the LCFS.

“California regulators are finally recognizing what we in the industry have known for decades — that ethanol is a high octane, low-cost alternative fuel that is readily available and offers meaningful GHG savings compared to gasoline,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. Continue reading

Make Biofuels Part of Paris Agreement Implementation

History was made this week with the signing of the Paris Agreement climate accord by 130 countries at the UN Headquarters in New York. The governments now have one year to ratify the accord. The Paris Agreement will enter into force on the 30th day after the Paris-Agreement_Logo_EN_sizedate on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions have finalized their adoption of the accord. In response, the global biofuels community is calling on these countries to include biofuels as part of their greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Nearly a third of global GHGs come from the transportation sector making it a key area of focus in efforts to reduce emissions. Studies have shown that biofuels, like ethanol, are proven to reduce harmful GHGs from 40 percent to 90 percent compared to fossil fuels according to the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA).

GRFA logo“It is clear that the biofuels industry generally, and ethanol specifically, will continue to have a significant role to play in international efforts to transition away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels in the transport sector,” said Bliss Baker, GRFA spokesperson. “As countries look to take policy steps to reduce GHG emissions in their transport sectors, the GRFA will continue to provide technical support for the adoption of ethanol-supportive policies that will maximize the advantages of biofuel technologies.”

At the end of March, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to historic reductions in GHG emissions. President Obama pledged that the U.S. would cut its emissions by 26 percent by 2025 compared with 2005 levels. In turn, President Jinping promised that China’s emissions would peak by 2030 and fall after that, the first time China has agreed to any emission reduction targets.

However, as the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) points out, the U.S. did not include the roll biofuels would play in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs), a plan submitted by each country outlining how it would meet emission reductions. So far 37 countries have included biofuels in these plans. Continue reading

#EarthDay, #Ethanol and the Global Climate

ethanol-report-adThe signing of the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day 2016 puts the focus on what countries are doing to make the world a better place, and some of the nearly 170 countries signing the accord are backing the use of renewable fuels like ethanol for cleaner air. In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen talks about the environmental benefits of ethanol and how the United States could have done more in the agreement to promote renewable fuels. He also shares his thoughts about what the oil industry costs American taxpayers on Tax Day.

Listen here: Ethanol Report on Earth Day

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.”

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.

Latest #Ethanol Trade Statistics

The latest ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) export numbers show Brazil is importing more U.S. ethanol as exports of DDGS continue to decline.

rfa-annAccording to Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) analyst Ann Lewis, exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 67.0 million gallons in February, down 23% from January’s 14-month high. “Brazil overtook recent leaders Canada and China as the top destination for U.S. product in February,” Lewis reports. Brazil imported over 22 million gallons of U.S. ethanol in February while exports to Canada were 14.5 mg, up 6% over January volumes and exports to China totaled 8.9 mg, down from 29.4 mg in January. On the import side, only marginal volumes of foreign-produced fuel ethanol have entered the United States so far this year.

Exports of DDGS continued to fall in February, to 785,383 metric tons with China remaining the top destination. Exports of U.S. DDGS to Mexico were down 26%. Other top customers were Vietnam, Thailand, Canada, and South Korea.

Groups Ask for Advanced Biofuel Tax Extension

As the advanced biofuel tax credits get closer to expiring, six biofuel trade associations have called on federal legislators to pass a multi-year extension of the credits. In 2015, through the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, several programs were extended including: the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit; the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property; the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit; the Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit; and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property. While these were extended through 2019, the advanced biofuels tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year.

The letter sent today to Senate and House leaders, the Senate Committee on Finance leaders and the House Ways and Means Committee leaders and was signed by The Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Algae Biomass Organization, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, and Renewable Fuels Association.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.29.51 PMThe letter stated, “This short-term expiration of tax incentives is jeopardizing the long-term investment necessary for advanced biofuels. This creates uncertainty for investors and industry about the availability of these credits in the future. As leaders in a critical innovation sector in the United States, we are well aware of the financial constraints facing this country. However, as Congress works on developing energy tax extenders legislation, we urge you to ensure that advanced biofuels are part of the package. Extending some 2016 expiring energy tax provisions and not others creates a piecemeal approach and investment uncertainty across the energy sector and distorts the playing field for biofuel producers.”

Additional comments were made by each of the six organizations that signed the letter. These comments can be found below.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association said, “Short-term tax incentives are akin to new drivers in a stick shift vehicle. The cars haltingly lurch forward for a time, but suddenly stall. The advanced biofuel industry needs certainty if it is to remain commercially viable, as it continues to bring new facilities and technologies online. Longer term incentives would go a long way to making sure the industry continues its growth, and don’t leave consumers stalled along the way.” Continue reading

Ethanol Report on Trade Mission to Peru

ethanol-report-adThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was part of a recent trade mission to Peru led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack which included discussions about increasing cooperation with that country when it comes to ethanol production and exports. The March 13-15 trip went to Lima and the Piura region, where cane-based ethanol is produced, and featured meetings with ministry of energy officials and a biofuels roundtable with ethanol producers and fuel distributors.

RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard was among nearly 40 industry and government representatives on the trip. In this edition of the Ethanol Report, Hubbard talks about the mission and opportunities with Peru to expand ethanol

Listen to it here: Ethanol Report on Trade Mission to Peru