You maybe read the little bio about who I am, so I am not going to spend a lot of time introducing myself. But just in case you didn’t read it, my name is Peter West, and I am a sophomore Marketing major from Emerson College in Boston. I am spending the week in sunny (when I say sunny, I mean ridiculously hot) Phoenix, Arizona, where I will be working with registration at the Clean Cities conference. During this week, I hope to find out really what is going on in the world of alternative fuels, and why exactly they are such a big deal. The only information which has been directed at today’s youth on the threat of the wasteful society we live in, comes from over exaggerated movies on the end of the world via global warming, or from screaming talk show liberals. The youth of today is tomorrow’s economic powerhouse, and I want to know how alternative fuels can be marketed towards a younger demographic. The technology is out there, the cars are in production, now all that is needed are people willing to trade in their Hummers for more fuel efficient alternatives. It can happen, us kids just need a little information.
Here’s your blogging crew for the next several days from the Clean Cities Congress.
That’s me on the left, then Lauren, Peter and Kimberly. Actually it’s Lauren and Peter who will begin writing their posts starting tonight or tomorrow.
We’re looking forward to this. I think it will be interesting to see the perspective that these students will bring to our coverage. I hope you enjoy it too.
Even though it’s Saturday afternoon and the conference doesn’t start until tomorrow, there’s plenty of work going on.
Like these busy people preparing the attendee bags that they’ll get when they register.
Registration will be open starting at 10am tomorrow.
I’m in Phoenix and ready for the fun to begin. Today is set-up day here at the Clean Cities Congress & Expo. That’s why you’ll see vehicles like this Chevrolet Tahoe parked outside prior to going to the trade show floor.
It’s also Cinco de Mayo festival time in downtown Phoenix. I know that was yesterday but the party is today. I also just found out that game 7 of the Phoenix/LA NBA playoffs is here tonight too. It’s definitely going to be a crowded downtown.
Pine Lake Ethanol plant in Steamboat Rock, Iowa has alerted us that they will be on “60 Minutes” this Sunday night as part of an ethanol-based story. Dan Rather spent some time with several members of the Board. No word on whether it will be positive or negative – hopefully at least fair and balanced…wait, that’s a different network…
The countdown to the 2006 Indy 500 has begun – the first Indy 500 to be run on ten percent ethanol fuel. To get the momentum going, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is holding “Ethanol Day” on Thursday, May 11, featuring Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman. Chuck will be covering that event live, as soon as he gets back from the Clean Cities Congress.
In addition, throughout the month of May there are five days of the Ethanol Fast Lap (May 10, 11, 17, 18, 26), where an ethanol industry representative will present that day’s fastest driver with a $2,500 check. On May 25 there will also be an Ethanol Forum, allowing industry leaders to discuss the benefits of ethanol as a performance fuel.
In a press release today, the American Coalition For Ethanol also outlined several reasons why suspending the tariff on ethanol will do nothing to lower gas prices. They are simply:
Lifting the tariff is unnecessary because significant volumes of ethanol already flow in the U.S. duty-free.under the Caribbean Basin Initiative.
Lifting the tariff forces U.S. taxpayers to support the production of foreign ethanol that is already heavily subsidized in Brazil.
Ethanol supplies are indeed adequate to meet the demand created by the removal of MTBE from the fuel supply.
Lifting the tariff would undermine the growth of the domestic ethanol industry.
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.
The 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.
To 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: Kimberly Taylor Interview (9 min MP3)