Custom RFA Ethanol Motorcycle Leads Legends Ride

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The Renewable Fuels Association’s new custom ethanol motorcycle, driven by RFA’s Robert White, took the lead in the 11th annual Legends Ride as part of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The race this year was for the benefit of the Special Olympics South Dakota – Rapid City Flame and Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame and RFA sponsors of the Ride.

The Legends Ride® was created by the Sturgis Buffalo Chip® to raise significant funds for worthwhile charities in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Its goal is to positively impact local youth and preserve the rich heritage and history of motorcycling by uniting the motorcycle, music and entertainment industries, as well as riders from around the world.

2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Photo Album

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Motorcycle, RFA, Sturgis, Video

Legends Ride Press Conference During #SturgisRally

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Participating in a pre-Legends Ride press conference in Deadwood, SD were (l-r) Tom Berenger, Sarah Palin and Rusty Wallace. I got to ask them to make a comment about a ten percent blend (E10) of ethanol into gasoline and what it means for our country.

Rusty is very familiar with the renewable fuel from his NASCAR experiences which include designing the Iowa Speedway while Sarah did campaign for Vice President throughout the corn belt. Tom Berenger is someone I’ve gotten to know here at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip and he has ridden his bike all over this countryside while filming his new movie, American Dresser, which is scheduled to release next month. Listen in to what they had to say. I’m also including Robert White’s statement in the press conference and a post-press conference interview with him.

Robert White, RFA - Legends Ride Press Conference

Q&A with Tom Berenger, Sarah Palin, Rusty Wallace

Interview with Robert White, RFA
Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Motorcycle, RFA, Sturgis

Ethanol Exports on Pace for Record Year

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2018 is on pace to be a record year for ethanol exports.

The latest government information shows that U.S. ethanol exports through June stood at 927.7 million gallons (mg), up 33 percent from the first half of 2017 and on pace to shatter last year’s record of 1.38 billion gallons (bg). According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), robust export markets are more important now than ever before, as actions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are undermining domestic ethanol demand.

“Booming exports have played a crucial role in balancing the supply-demand equation for U.S. ethanol,” said Geoff Cooper, the RFA’s executive vice president. “The wave of RFS small refiner exemptions secretly issued by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has caused softer demand in the domestic market, as reflected by ethanol blend rates that are below year-ago levels. Thus, continuing to grow export demand has never been more important; we are encouraged that foreign buyers are increasingly recognizing the tremendous value of U.S. ethanol as the lowest-cost and cleanest source of octane available on the world market.”

U.S. ethanol exports in June were up 65% from May, totaling 151.5 million gallons (mg).

Brazil is the leading market for U.S. exports so far this year, taking about 37 percent of total shipments, up 28 percent over the same period in 2017. Canada comes in second with exports up eight percent from last year.

Other top markets for the first half of 2018 were India (70.1 mg), China (52.9 mg), South Korea (44.5 mg), and the Philippines (43.7 mg). It should be noted, however, that 99 percent of the exports to China occurred in the first three months of the year, and fuel ethanol exports to the country collapsed to zero in the second quarter as a result of increased tariffs.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA

2018 #SturgisRally Features the RFA Motorcycle

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

On opening weekend for the 2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Renewable Fuels Association‘s Robert White took the stage to welcome other sponsors and talk about the big annual Legends Ride today. Pictured here are some of the RFA members on the scene this week to help with Free Fuel Happy Hours which begin tomorrow afternoon (free E10 fuel for motorcycles).

Robert will be in the lead of the Legends Ride on the motorcycle built by Paul Teutul, Jr. Participants have to be registered and the event attracts lots of big names in the biking world as well as celebrities. Paul also built a custom motorcycle for The Buffalo Chip Campground which will be auctioned off right before the start of today’s ride.

2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Photo Album

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Motorcycle, RFA, Sturgis, Video

31st ACE Ethanol Conference Preview

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“Grit Wins” is the theme for the 31st annual American Coalition for Ethanol conference August 15-17 at the Renaissance Depot Hotel in Minneapolis.

“We think Grit Wins really encompasses the courage and resolve that ACE members have exhibited in the face of a lot of challenges in the last 12 months,” says ACE Senior Director of Operations and Programming Shannon Gustafson.

The program features sessions and panels on the most timely topics for the ethanol industry, including an overview of future demand for liquid fuels and electricity in the U.S. with emphasis on ethanol’s high octane qualities.

Gustafson gives a preview of the conference in this interview. Interview with Shannon Gustafson, ACE

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol

High Octane Ethanol Fits Fuel Economy Standards

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The proposed Fuel Economy Standards for 2021-2026 Vehicles could put high octane ethanol in the fast lane at last.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are seeking public comment on a wide range of regulatory options proposed in the SAFE Vehicles Rule, including how high octane fuels could facilitate engine efficiency improvements and reduced emissions. Ethanol trade groups say that provides a great opportunity for higher ethanol blends.

Renewable Fuels Association Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper says “RFA has relentlessly advocated throughout the midterm evaluation process that the impact of fuel properties on efficiency and emissions must be considered, and we provided detailed information showing that high octane fuels can provide tremendous benefits. We are pleased to see that EPA’s proposal recognizes that high octane fuels can help enable more efficient engines and reduce GHG emissions.”

“This proposal provides a valuable opportunity to highlight the benefits of high-octane, low-carbon fuels, such as mid-level ethanol blends like E30,” said Growth Energy Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley. “We look forward to participating in this discussion to show how ethanol blends can help automakers meet future GHG standards and provide immediate consumer benefits.”

“EPA now appears to recognize it will need to increase the minimum octane of fuel to help automakers maintain engine efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, going so far as to reference an octane level of 100 and a role for E30 blends,” said American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings. “Ethanol-enriched, high octane fuel in the 99-100 RON range would enable automakers to simultaneously reduce GHG emissions and improve fuel economy.”

The rule will now be open to a 60-day public comment period and EPA will hold public hearings in Washington, D.C., Detroit, Michigan, and Los Angeles, California.

ACE, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, Growth Energy, Octane, RFA

Ethanol Report on 10th Year at Sturgis

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is celebrating 10 years of partnership with the Buffalo Chip Campground to promote ethanol at the 78th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Aug. 3-12 in Sturgis, S.D. The event this year will highlight the custom RFA ethanol bike by Paul Jr. Designs and featured on a recent episode of “American Chopper.”

In this edition of The Ethanol Report podcast, RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White previews some of the activities they will be hosting, from sponsoring the annual Legends Ride to giving away free E10 and t-shirts.

Ethanol Report on 10th Year at Sturgis

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Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, Motorcycle, RFA, Sturgis

Acting EPA Chief on RFS Concerns

Cindy Zimmerman

During a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing Wednesday, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was pressed for answers about the demand destruction created by small refinery exemptions, how EPA intends to reallocate the waived gallons, and when the agency will approve E15 use year-round.

Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) all spent questioning time on Renewable Fuel Standard issues, but many answers from Wheeler were vague and noncommittal. Wheeler clearly believes the waivers should be granted under the law, but he expressed no clear direction on how, or even whether, the waived gallons should be reallocated.

Wheeler said several times that EPA intends to publicize a “dashboard” to provide more transparency about the circumstances around why refineries receive exemptions from RFS compliance. “We’re developing a dashboard so the whole public can see what we’re doing and when and how we are granting the waivers,” said Wheeler.

The acting administrator served on the Senate EPW committee from 2003-2009 and actually helped to write parts of the RFS dealing with the refinery exemptions and he told Sen. Rounds, “I wish we had spent a little more time on some of the details of it now that I’m helping to implement it.”

Sen. Ernst pointed out that if the traditional ethanol statutory requirement is 15 billion gallons, and EPA has effectively waived 10 percent of that, the agency is not implementing the RFS in a manner consistent with the original intent of Congress. “Part of the original intent of Congress was also to grant the waivers and there was not a provision to reallocating that,” said Wheeler. “I agree we have to figure out a reallocation strategy, but we are confined by the law.”

“And the law does require 15 billion gallons,” Sen. Ernst responded.

Ernst also pressed Wheeler on allowing E15 to be sold all year. “We can certainly start that process,” said Wheeler. “There are certainly people that don’t believe we have that authority.”

Wrapping up his questioning, Sen. Rounds told Wheeler, “You’ve taken care of the small refineries, but you haven’t taken care of the small farmers.”

Listen to the senators’ questions and Wheeler’s answers below:

Wheeler hearing - Sen. Ernst

Wheeler hearing - Sen. Rounds

Wheeler hearing - Sen. Fischer

Wheeler hearing - Sen. Duckworth

Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFS

Ethanol Export Mission to Indonesia and Vietnam

Cindy Zimmerman

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and ethanol industry partners joined the recent USDA Agricultural Trade Mission to Indonesia in July, led by USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.

Indonesia currently imports half of its gasoline demand, and the government has set a goal for renewables to represent 23 percent of the country’s energy mix by 2025 and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 29 percent by 2030. Importing high octane ethanol could help Indonesia achieve that by reducing the use of aromatics. Instead, the Indonesian government has instituted import restrictions and high tariff rates for ethanol and ethanol products inconsistent with those for gasoline or aromatics, so the Council delegation met with Indonesian ministry officials to highlight the benefits of increased ethanol use in terms of air quality and GHG emission reductions.

The delegation also visited Vietnam, which started offering E5 this year with a goal to move to E10 by 2020, as total gasoline consumption rates are expected to grow by nearly 10 percent annually. The Council delegation met with Vietnamese energy ministry officials, ethanol producers and oil industry members to learn more and offer their support for the country’s trade-friendly policies.

The Vietnamese ethanol industry expects to source some of the ethanol needed to fulfill these mandates domestically from local cassava producers. But, the government and industry are open to importing ethanol should domestic production fall short of feedstock needed to fulfill the mandate, as ethanol plants come back online or feedstock prices fluctuate.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, USGC

NBB Files Brief Challenging 2018 RFS Rule

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board has filed the opening brief in a lawsuit objecting to the methodology EPA used for establishing the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS).

NBB has three specific disputes with EPA’s final RFS rule for 2018, arguing:
– EPA must account for all small refinery exemptions in the annual percentage standard;
– The agency acted arbitrarily when it set the 2018 advanced biofuel volume below what it found to be “reasonably attainable;” and
– The agency set the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume based on impermissible considerations.

NBB’s brief is the first the courts will consider in arguing that EPA must account for all small refinery “hardship” exemptions – including retroactively granted exemptions – when it sets the annual RFS volumes and Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).

NBB’s brief states, “EPA unlawfully has failed to account for all small-refinery exemptions it awards, violating its duty to promulgate percentage standards that ‘ensure’ all aggregate volumes are met. Unaccounted for small-refinery exemptions reduce aggregate volumes, and EPA’s approach creates a new, de facto waiver authority contrary to Congress’s design. Despite knowing those consequences, EPA declines to adjust percentage standards to account for that shortfall, either before it is likely to happen or after it actually does.”

EPA has disclosed that it recently retroactively granted 48 small refinery hardship exemptions, reducing the 2016 and 2017 RVOs by a combined 2.25 billion RINs. In the brief, NBB notes that the exemptions reduced the 2016 RVOs by 4.3 percent and the 2017 RVOs by 7.5 percent. Separately, NBB estimates the 2016 and 2017 exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons. Every 100 million gallons of increased biodiesel production supports some 3,200 jobs. The small refinery hardship exemptions could put hundreds of new jobs at risk.
Read more from NBB

Biodiesel, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, NBB