Ethanol Production Picks Up Again in May

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. ethanol production has been over a million gallons again for the last three weeks, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

After five weeks of below a million gallons, production picked up again at the beginning of May. As a result, the four-week average for ethanol production as of May 19 was just over a million gallons, for an annualized rate of 15.44 billion gallons.

The first week of May also saw the first ethanol imports in 37 weeks. Imports of ethanol totaled 28,000 b/d the week of May 5 but dropped to zero again the past two weeks.

Average weekly gasoline demand surged to 407.6 million gallons (9.704 million barrels) daily last week, the highest level since mid-August 2016. However, refiner/blender input of ethanol dipped slightly from last week’s 40-week high, falling 0.2% to 949,000 b/d.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Americans Drive One Billion Miles on E15

Cindy Zimmerman

American drivers across the United States have logged more than 1 billion miles on E15, according to an analysis of fuel sales and consumption data reported by major gasoline retailers by Growth Energy.

“American drivers are taking advantage of the proven performance, environmental benefits, and savings E15 provides,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “That’s why Congress should pass the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act and give drivers freedom to choose E15 year-round. This common-sense fix to the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) law will end confusing restrictions on retailers and allow consumers to choose a fuel that is kinder to the earth, good for their engines, and saves them up to 10 cents per gallon each trip to the pump in the summer.”

E15 is now sold at more than 800 retail outlets in 29 states and more E15 pumps are being added almost daily.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy

New Iowa Governor Prioritizes Biofuels

Cindy Zimmerman

Like her predecessor, the new governor of Iowa intends to make renewable fuels a priority in her administration.

In her inaugural speech on Wednesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made innovating Iowa’s energy policy her second priority, just behind reforming the state’s tax code. “For years, our fields have fed the world. Now, they energize it. They produce products that fuel cars and they host wind turbines that power our communities and businesses,” said Reynolds. “And yet, those fields are filled with untapped potential. Our energy plan will help us continue to lead the way in wind energy and renewable fuels. Working together, we can have the most innovative energy policy in the country.”

Reynolds replaces Terry Branstad, the longest serving governor in U.S. history and a tireless biofuels advocate who was just confirmed this week as Ambassador to China.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government

RFA Launches Summer Ethanol Price Reporting Contest

Cindy Zimmerman

The unofficial start of summer is next week and the Renewable Fuels Association is giving people a chance to win $50 in free fuel per day all summer long just for reporting prices for higher ethanol blends around the country. Beginning on Memorial Day, RFA is launching the “Ethanol Days of Summer” contest, allowing anyone to report the price posted for E85 and other ethanol blends just by being registered on E85prices.com and submitting prices any day, every day for multiple stations each day. Registered users can also download the E85 Prices mobile app so they can submit prices right on their phone. Daily winners will be drawn through Labor Day, and winners will be announced every two weeks.

“This contest will not only drive traffic to these stations, but it will help us maintain the best ethanol station locator website, along with pricing information for those stations,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White.

In this edition of The Ethanol Report podcast, White explains more about the contest and E85prices.com, which was acquired by RFA in 2015, is crowdsourced and offers updated prices for E85 and other ethanol blends, including E15, from thousands of stations across the country.

Listen to this episode here: Ethanol Report on Days of Summer Contest

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Audio, E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFN

Kwik Star Adds 17 E15 Locations in Iowa

Cindy Zimmerman

Kwik Star has recently added E15 to 17 of its Iowa locations, bringing the total E15 fueling locations for the state now to 121.

Kwik Trip – which operates in Iowa under the name “Kwik Star” – intends to add E15 to almost all of its 550 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa over the next few years.

“Kwik Trip prides itself in offering the best customer experience and the most choices,” said Kwik Trip General Manager of Fuel Procurement and Marketing Joel Hirschboeck. “This is just another example of how we provide industry leading guest service, by offering a new product with more octane at a lower cost than Regular Unleaded.”

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw says the recent E15 openings makes Kwik Star Iowa’s 2nd biggest provider of E15 for drivers. “Kwik Star is bringing E15 to new areas around the state and introducing consumers to a high-preforming fuel that reduces cancer-causing chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Shaw.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

Sec. Perdue Defends Trump Budget

cindy zimmerman

Farmers and ranchers are concerned about President Trump’s “Taxpayer First” budget released this week but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue defended significant cuts to USDA in the name of balancing the budget.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to sugar coat this,” Perdue said to reporters on a press call Tuesday. “But I believe the people knew what they were doing when they elected President Trump…I think many believe as I do – I just don’t think it’s moral to continue to kick a $20 trillion debt down to our grandchildren.”

The budget cuts USDA staff, crop insurance, conservation programs, and food assistance and eliminates funding for some programs including the Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Joining Perdue on the call was Acting Deputy Secretary and Budget Officer Michael Young, who ran USDA for the first four months of this year and was the one who actually worked on the budget before Secretary Perdue was confirmed. He explained the budget cuts and answered all of the reporters’ questions.

Perdue and Young will both testify before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture today at 10 am Eastern time.

Listen to the press conference here. USDA budget presser

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, Audio, USDA

Branstad Confirmed as Chinese Ambassador

Cindy Zimmerman

Biofuels interests are pleased with final approval of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as U.S. Ambassador to China by a vote of 82-13 in the Senate.

“While we hate to lose such a passionate supporter for renewable fuels as governor, there are a number of vital trade issues with China that have a major impact on our industry,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “With over three decades of international trade experience and his personal relationship with the Chinese president dating back just as long, we look forward to working with Ambassador Branstad in his new role to knock down artificial trade barriers between U.S. ethanol and distillers grains and China.”

Branstad is the longest serving governor in history and upon his resignation Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “Throughout her tenure as a state senator and Iowa’s Lt. Governor, Kim Reynolds has been a steadfast advocate for renewable fuels,” said Shaw.

The Iowa Biodiesel Board also welcomed Reynolds as Governor. “We have no doubt she will be an extremely capable governor who will continue to care deeply about science, agriculture and biofuels, recognizing the benefits these key industries bring to our state,” said Executive Director Grant Kimberly.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Cellulosic and Retail Companies Lobby for E15 Waiver

Cindy Zimmerman

Cellulosic biofuel and retail fuel companies have joined the effort to urge the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to pass legislation that would extend the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver to gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol (E15) and allow sales of higher blends year-round across the nation.

The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act was introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and 13 other bipartisan Senators in March. Novozymes, Protec Fuel, and Kwik Trip were among the companies that joined Growth Energy to urge passage of the bill.

“We see a legislative fix to RVP as the strongest signal to continue to spur business and jobs growth and put more money back in American pockets,” said Adam Monroe, President, Americas, Novozymes, a company with over a decade of experience developing enzyme technologies to convert agricultural waste into low-carbon cellulosic ethanol.

“There is no reason for the current RVP burden that blocks retailers, like us, from offering our customers less expensive, earth-friendlier fuel choices year-round,” said Steve Walk, COO of Protec Fuel.

“This long-overdue fix simply holds E15 to the same standard as conventional blends, which means more affordable options for our customers and fewer baseless restrictions on retailers,” said Joel Hirschboeck, General Manager of Fuel Procurement and Marketing of Kwik Trip.

He added that Kwik Trip plans to add E15 at more than 500 locations in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin over the next few years.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Novozymes, Protec Fuel, Retailers

Ethanol and Biodiesel Groups Testify on Trade Issues

Cindy Zimmerman

Bob Dinneen, RFA and Anne Steckel, NBB testify at Commerce Department hearing

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) both testified at a U.S. Department of Commerce hearing Thursday to provide input on a recent Executive Order concerning significant trade deficits.

The NBB testified about the harm being caused to the U.S. biodiesel industry from increasing volumes of imports from Indonesia, while RFA was focused on China’s recent protectionist barriers imposed on U.S. ethanol and dried distillers grain.

“Between 2014 and 2016, the trade imbalance with respect to biodiesel has grown 95 percent,” testified Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at NBB. “Unfair trade practices have caused this significant surge in biodiesel imports and growing trade deficit, such as massive subsidization by the Indonesian government and dumped pricing by Indonesian biodiesel producers and exporters.” NBB filed an antidumping and countervailing duty petition in March making the case that Argentine and Indonesian companies are violating trade laws by flooding the U.S. market with dumped and subsidized biodiesel.

“China’s recent anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs on ethanol and DDGS are significantly injuring U.S. ethanol producers and farmers, and undermining the substantial investments our industries have made in developing a trade relationship with the country,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen, who noted that China’s recent actions have contributed to lower prices for ethanol and DDGS. Ethanol prices have fallen 15 percent since mid-December 2016, while DDGS prices have fallen steadily since the summer of 2016. Today, DDGS prices are approximately 40 percent lower than in June 2016.

Read more about RFA’s testimony

Read more about NBB’s testimony

Biodiesel, Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, International, NBB, RFA

Iowa Gets 104th E15 Station

Cindy Zimmerman

Decorah, Iowa has become the 104th E15 retail station in the Hawkeye State.

“E15 and E85 are growing in popularity in Iowa and we want our customers to have these high-quality fuel choices,” said Craig Patel, Manager of Decorah Mart, located in northeast Iowa. “We’re providing our customers with more value by selling E15 for 10 cents under E10 and they say they still enjoy the same fuel economy. And we want to be a leader in the community by offering earth-friendly ethanol blends that contribute to the local economy.”

Decorah Mart received a cost-share grant from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) to help upgrade their fueling infrastructure. RFIP grants can cover up to $50,000 in installation costs per project, with a five-year commitment to sell E15, E85 or biodiesel blends.

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