Bush Favors Ethanol Tariff Cut

Cindy Zimmerman

President Bush today came out in support of at least a temporary end to the tariff on ethanol imports, putting the “pro-ethanol” president at odds with the ethanol industry and farm-state lawmakers. In an interview with CNBC, Bush said, “I think it makes sense to — when there’s a time of shortage of a product that’s needed, so that the consumers can have a reasonable price, it seems to me to make sense to address those shortages, and dropping a tariff will enable the foreign export of ethanol into our markets, which will particularly help on our coasts. And yeah, I’ve talked to Congress about that.”

However, the ethanol industry contends that there are sufficient supplies of ethanol to meet the demand and that dropping the tariff will have no impact on prices. According to the Renewable Fuels Association:
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that 130,000 barrels per day (b/d) of ethanol will be needed to replace the volume of MTBE refiners have chosen to remove from the gasoline pool. The most recent EIA report shows that U.S. ethanol production has soared to 302,000 b/d in February.

In addition, there have been reports that Brazil is having trouble meeting its own demand for ethanol. A recent Knight-Ridder article said that Brazilian ethanol producers are struggling to keep up with domestic demand for ethanol, which is projected to grow by 50 percent over the next five years. Yet a 15 percent jump in prices earlier this year sparked a sharp drop in consumption. Even so, suppliers are struggling to plant enough fields of new sugar cane, from which ethanol is produced here, to keep up with the anticipated growth in demand.

Ethanol, Government

Travelling The Clean City Highway

Chuck Zimmerman

Clean Cities Congress Student BloggersThe next time I get to post will probably be from the road somewhere between here and Phoenix for the Clean Cities Congress & Expo. These two good looking bloggerati will be helping me starting with our first meeting tomorrow afternoon at the Phoenix Convention Center.

We’ll have lots of pictures, interviews and even some video clips to share with you as we learn more about alternative fuels.

Clean Cities Congress

Interview About Clean Cities Congress

Chuck Zimmerman

Alternative Fuel Vehicle InstituteTo help get you fired up about the Clean Cities Congress & Expo I interviewed Kimberly Taylor, Director of Business & Consumer Programs for the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute. She gives us a pre-conference overview of what to expect.

You can listen to my interview with Kimberly here: Listen to MP3 Kimberly Taylor Interview (9 min MP3)

Domestic Fuel coverage of the Clean Cities Congress is made possible by the following sponsors:
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute Southern California Gas Company

Audio, Clean Cities Congress

Gov. Wants to Terminate High Gas Prices

Cindy Zimmerman

Ahnold California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is directing his state agencies to fight high gas prices by expanding bio-fuels, according to a release from his office. “It is critical that we do everything we can to reduce our dependence on petroleum-based fuels,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “Turning waste products into energy is good for the state’s economy, local job creation and our environment. By implementing biomass programs in California, we will help fight critical waste disposal and environmental problems, including the risk of wild fires, air pollution from open field burning, and greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.”
California will produce a minimum of twenty percent of its own biofuels by 2010 and forty percent by 2020, according to targets set by the executive order.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government

Tariff Debate in High Gear

Cindy Zimmerman

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman sent ethanol stocks down today with comments that the Bush administration is considering lifting import tariffs on ethanol, but ethanol interests were busy out stating their reasons why the tariffs should remain in place. GrassleyThuneSenator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) issued a joint statement saying that ending the duty is unnecessary and would have negative consequences. “Everyone’s looking for a way to lower gas prices, but lifting the ethanol tariff won’t mean lower prices for consumers. What’s more, it would undermine efforts to make our country more energy independent and reward the oil companies that are already raking in record profits.”

Ethanol, Government

Don’t Try This at Home

Cindy Zimmerman

TTB The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is warning the public not to start their own home ethanol plants. A notice on the TTB website says “it is illegal to distill alcohol without first obtaining a Federal permit” from the TTB. The notice is in response to “several news items on people distilling ethanol at home to supplement their gasoline needs.” Those wishing to distill alcohol at home are invited to contact TTB to apply for a permit, but I would bet it’s no easy process, since they note there “may also be additional permitting requirements and other restrictions on the state and local level.”

Ethanol, Government

Domestic Fuel For Amelot

Cindy Zimmerman

Amelot Cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel hit the spot for a company known as Amelot.

According to their website, “Amelot Holdings Inc. is a Natural Resources and Energy Company including Oil, Gas Alternative and Bio-Energy projects.” A press release this week from Kerry Associates says they have entered into joint negotiations with a cellulose ethanol technology company on behalf of Amelot.

An earlier press release from Amelot announced that they have ordered bio-diesel processing equipment to start production at its first facility, to be located in New Hampshire. Amelot expects to produce over 1 million gallons in 2006. “We are extremely excited that this initial purchase has been formalized. This investment will enable us to create a division within the holding company dedicated to the development of alternative fuels and bio-diesel production. Having already established a solid infrastructure allows us to be generating substantial revenue and profits from this facility within the next 90 days,” commented Aziz Hirji, President of Amelot Holdings, Inc.

Cellulosic

Media Training At Clean Cities

Chuck Zimmerman

Clean Cities Congress & ExpoThe Clean Cities Congress & Expo is about to kick off and so is our coverage here on Domestic Fuel. One of the organizations exhibiting at the show is the National Biodiesel Board. I just visited their office yesterday since I’ll be helping NBB Director of Communications, Jenna Higgins, with a media training workshop on Sunday and we were looking at some camera equipment. So I asked her a couple questions about why the NBB is involved and what she’ll be teaching her workshop participants.

You can listen to my interview with Jenna here: Listen to MP3 Jenna Higgins Interview (2 min MP3)

Domestic Fuel coverage of the Clean Cities Congress is made possible by the following sponsors:
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute Southern California Gas Company

Audio, Biodiesel, Clean Cities Congress

Billboard Controversy

Cindy Zimmerman

MCGA billboard
This graphic appeared in the Columbia (MO) Tribune today, with an article claiming the Missouri Corn Growers Association billboards are continuing to “fuel controversy.” According to the article, the Arab American Institute sent a letter to MCGA asking them to take down eight billboards that show an image of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. MCGA communications director Becky Grisham said they do not plan to remove the billboards until their contract is up later this month, although they are considering a plan to “replace the king with Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela and an outspoken critic of the United States.”
I bet we could think of other faces that could grace the billboard. Any suggestions? I think it’s a good message and a fair question and it would be great if we could get a national campaign going to put billboards like this up on highways all over the country.

Ethanol

Mandatory but Optional?

Cindy Zimmerman

A bill passed this week in the Louisiana House would require a portion of the gasoline sold in the state to include ethanol – but at the same time makes the mandatory sale of alternative fuels optional for some retailers. According to the Shreveport Times, Rep. Mickey Frith, D-Kaplan, a convenience store owner who sells gasoline, got House approval in a 55-44 vote to remove a mandate for wholesalers and retailers to sell the product in Louisiana. He promoted it as protecting small dealers who couldn’t meet the cost demands to change tanks and pumps.

Ethanol