RFA Unveils New Website

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.24.58 AMThe Renewable Fuels Association has unveiled a new website this morning. With improved user experience, the new site has new and enhanced content to further improve ease of navigation and usability. RFA’s website will provide up-to-date market data as well as feature news of importance to the ethanol industry. In addition, users will be able to access ethanol industry statistics, RFA reports and studies and infographics. The website also features Google optimization and a responsive design that allows its display to be easily viewed of any mobile device, smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

“When we took on the task of redesigning the RFA website, our main goal was to greatly enhance the end-user experience,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The functionality of the new website will make it a dynamic resource for those who are looking for the latest information on the ethanol industry. RFA will continue to vigorously advocate for policies that seek to provide a stable energy marketplace and allow consumers to have more choices at the pump; the new website is part of a set of tools, including the RFA mobile app, ‘RFA Advocacy,’ that will assist RFA in its efforts.”

For information on the RFA mobile app, visit: www.EthanolRFA.org/policy/app

Senator Toomey’s Anti-RFS Amendment Tanks

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced an amendment that would eliminate corn ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It was promptly defeated by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs by a vote of 15-7. Pro RFS supporters came out en masse against Toomey’s amendment and thanked the Committee for making the right decision on consumer choice at the pump.

Senator Toomey“Biofuels are a key part of energy independence and energy security,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of VoteVets.org, the largest veterans group in America. “It is jarring to see a sitting U.S. Senator thumb his nose at our national security, just so he can repay his oil buddies. We need to figure out ways to use less oil. Pat Toomey is trying to make sure that we use more, and that his Big Oil pals make more profit as a result. It’s was a disgrace, but thankfully common sense won out, over Pat Toomey.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen made the following statement upon the news of defeat. “Consumers can breathe a sigh of relief when they fill up at the gas pump because today’s vote by the committee ensures that ethanol will remain the number one source of renewable fuel in the world,” said Dinneen. “The committee understood the writing is on the wall when it comes to the RFS, and that legislative proposals that seek to purportedly ‘fix’ the statute are nothing more than political gamesmanship. When Congress passed the RFS it did so with the intention of stabilizing and growing the biofuels market. The committee rightly rejected the amendment by Senator Toomey because it would have done nothing more than squelched investment and created uncertainty in the market, and would thereby have had a detrimental impact on the energy and economic future of generations to come.”

Biofuels supporters cite the RFS as the most successful energy policy ever. VotesVets.org did some research into Senator Toomey’s connections with the oil industry and found Big Oil his 12th largest contributor contributing $552,816,000. Of that, half (252,050) was made to his campaign committee over the course of the last few months, making the oil and gas industry the 10th largest contributor to Toomey this election cycle.

“It is no surprise that Senator Toomey’s amendment failed – it never had a chance of passing,” said Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO. “Similar to legislation he has introduced before, it did not gain any traction and failed because this legislation only restricts consumer choice and attempts to dismantle a successful American industry that is creating jobs, improving our environment and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The simple fact is that the RFS has bipartisan support and it has been the most successful energy legislation this nation has enacted in over 40 years.”

Industry Applauds Sen Talent’s RFS Efforts

Yesterday former Missouri U.S. Senator Jim Talent launched Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI), an organization focused on expanding support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ethanol industry responded to the news favorably.

rfs-mess-2“The RFA welcomes AESI to the ongoing efforts to ensure that the RFS remains America’s most successful energy policy,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Former Senator Talent has been an enthusiastic and outspoken supporter of the U.S. ethanol industry. We look forward to hearing the ideas this new group will put forth to ensure that the American public has access to clean, secure, affordable home-grown sources of energy. Indeed, the RFS is law today in no small part because of Senator Talent’s leadership on the Energy Committee during his tenure representing the people of Missouri. He knows far better than most the rural economic, energy security and economic promise of the RFS.”

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy added, “We are pleased that Americans for Energy Security and Innovation have joined the important fight to ensure that the RFS is protected and that America has a strong, robust and resilient renewable fuels industry.”

“Former Senator Jim Talent from Missouri has always been a true advocate for renewable fuels and rural America,” Buis added. I am confident that Senator Talent and Americans for Energy Security and Innovation will be effective in the battle to improve our environment, create jobs in America that cannot be outsourced and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, all while providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.”

Renewable Fuels Association Elects 2016 Leadership

rfalogo1The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) announced the election of officers for the 2016 Board of Directors at the organization’s annual membership meeting held this week in Omaha, Nebraska.

Randall Doyal, General Manager and CEO at Al-Corn Clean Fuel, has been re-elected to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for another year. Doyal’s ethanol facility, which is located in Claremont, Minnesota, produces 50 million gallons of ethanol annually. His experience in the ethanol industry began in 1982 at Mountain Development Company. In addition to Al-Corn Clean Fuel, Doyal serves as Chairman of the Board at Guardian Energy, LLC and the Renewable Products Marketing Group. He previously served as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the RFA.

rfa-doyal“I am truly humbled that my peers have, once again, selected me to head the Renewable Fuels Association. The RFA is a strong and vocal advocate for the ethanol industry, and its technical knowledge, political influence, and market acumen are unmatched,” said Doyal. “I look forward to another year of working side by side with RFA’s highly professional staff and other producers to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard and expand market access at home and abroad.”

The RFA membership also elected Mick Henderson, General Manager of Commonwealth Energy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, as vice chairman. And Jim Seurer, CFO of Glacial Lakes Energy in Watertown, South Dakota was elected treasurer for the organization. Bob Dinneen was also re-elected as president of RFA.

Study: 15B Gallon RFS Can Happen in 2016

According to new research from the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), the 15 billion gallons per year of ethanol set in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is currently achievable. With infrastructure in place, what is needed, say the Iowa State University (ISU) economists, is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adhere to the law.

“Our results show that meeting the original 15 billion gallon RFS ethanol target in 2016 is feasible,” write ISU Profs. Bruce Babcock and Sebastien Pouliot. “The two key conditions needed to meet this consumption level are to allow the market for RINs [Renewable Identification Numbers] to work as intended, which will allow the price of E85 to fall to induce consumers to buy the fuel, and for EPA to set a consistent policy signal to industry that they will indeed have to meet this target. A clear and consistent message from EPA is needed to foster investment in fueling stations that will allow enough consumers to access E85.”

E85 pump in Des Moines IA

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

The data used was from actual daily fuel sales and volume prices from a major Midwest retail chain and demonstrates that E85 is a viable means to meet renewable fuel mandates. The study also reviewed the willingness of flex fuel vehicle (FFV) drivers to purchase E85 at various price points.

According to the report, “Using these new direct estimates of consumer demand, we find that owners of current flex vehicles in all US metro areas would consume 250 million gallons of E85 if it was priced at parity on a cost per mile basis with E10, and one billion gallons of ethanol if E85 were priced to save drivers 23% on a cost per mile basis. These estimates assume that no new E85 stations are installed,” write the authors. The study shows that in one metro area, the market share of E85 exceeded 15 percent when E85 saved FFV owners money on a cost-per-mile basis.

The authors also demonstrate how a strong and consistent enforcement signal from the EPA — transmitted through the market for RIN credits — can quickly transform the market for E85. They write, “Our finding that owners of FFVs like to save money on their fuel purchases is not too surprising: all of us do. Perhaps what is surprising is that EPA’s proposed decision to cut ethanol mandates reveals so little faith in their own compliance mechanism—the RIN trading system. …EPA set up the RIN trading system to create the incentive to invest in the infrastructure that is needed to expand the consumption of biofuels which, in turn, lowers RIN price. Using the power of the marketplace has proved to be an efficient method of achieving policy objectives.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen commented on the study’s findings, stating, “This report confirms that if EPA and the Administration would just let the RFS and its RIN mechanism work as intended, we would obliterate the so-called ‘blend wall’ and increase consumer access to lower-cost, lower-carbon renewable fuels that are made right here in America. The authors show that Congress’ original vision for conventional biofuels under the RFS is indeed achievable in 2016 with existing infrastructure, and that the only thing missing is the resolve and commitment from EPA and the Administration to continue building upon the remarkable success story that is the RFS.”

RFA: Oregon Treating Biofuels Unfairly

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has offered a proposal to include indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions when calculating the carbon intensity of biofuels regulated under the state’s Clean Fuels Program (CFP). The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has expressed disappointment in the proposal that is to take effect on January 1, 2016 and aims for a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels in the state over a 10-year period.

rfalogo1RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said that the DEQ proposal would have the effect of creating an inconsistent and unfair methodology for estimating the carbon intensity of competing fuel options under the CFP. Specifically, DEQ’s proposal would penalize certain biofuels for theoretical indirect emissions, while assuming that no other fuels induce any indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at all. DEQ proposed to integrate the flawed ILUC analysis conducted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), despite the fact that recent analyses have shown that the land use changes predicted by CARB’s computer models have not occurred in the real world. DEQ also flatly ignored the results of new land use modeling approaches, including recently published data from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

“Oregon DEQ really fumbles the ball with this proposal,” said Dinneen. “The Oregon CFP previously enjoyed broad-based support from the biofuels and ag industries because the CI impacts of all fuels were being evaluated fairly and consistently. But the program is headed off the rails now that DEQ is planning to simply regurgitate CARB’s faulty and biased ILUC penalties, while pretending that other fuels don’t have indirect GHG effects.”

Dinneen continued, “Regrettably, Oregon’s proposal puts politics ahead of science, a problem that has plagued the California program, harming consumers by limiting choice at the pump. The U.S. ethanol industry will continue to support performance-based low carbon fuel programs that are grounded in the principles of fairness, sound science, and consistent analytical boundaries. Unfortunately, Oregon’s proposal doesn’t meet any of those criteria.”

Oregon DEQ is hosting a public hearing on the proposed rule on October 19, 2015 and will accept written comments from the public through October 21, 2015.

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

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

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.”

RFA Responds to Anti-Ethanol Boat Campaign

This weekend marks the end of “summer” and boaters are expected to hit the waters for one last hurrah. In an effort to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and growth of biofuels, the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) released a survey of Fueled with Pride - Boat Safe Fuel Rightits members that show half of them say ethanol free gas is not available to them at marinas and gas stations. In addition, the survey found that 91 percent of boaters want ethanol-free gas for their boat and more than half of the respondents claimed to have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts due to suspected ethanol damage.

Interestingly, this past weekend, an ethanol-powered speed boat reached speeds of 208 MPH in an annual shootout.

In response, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), stated:

“The poll results are, unfortunately, a clear indication that the myths surrounding boating and ethanol continue to exist,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “The National Marine Manufacturers Association has engaged in a relentless misinformation campaign regarding E15 and, in doing so, has confused the issue. It is simply not true that ethanol and boat engines do not mix. E10 is safe for boat engines. In fact, every boat manufacturer warrants the use of ethanol-blended fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. So boaters should not have any worries about filling their engines with E10 over the Labor Day holiday.”

RFA has made available information related to ethanol use in boats. Click here to learn more.