WBIA BLOG

The numbers don’t add up

The Renewable Fuels Association recently compiled a report that examined the nonexistent relationship between corn prices and retail food prices for dairy, poultry and eggs, pork and beef and found that “fluctuations in corn prices do not significantly affect consumer food prices.” We also concluded that there is “no relationship between corn demand for ethanol and retail food prices.”

The report revealed:
Retail prices for key dairy items like milk and cheese have been largely unresponsive to changes in corn prices. In fact, since January 2011, milk and cheese prices have been negatively correlated to corn prices, meaning retail milk and cheese prices have tended to move in the opposite direction of movements in corn prices.
Retail prices for other items (like chicken legs, frozen whole turkey, fresh whole chicken) have risen steadily and smoothly since 2007. Wide swings in corn prices did not interrupt or affect the gradual trend toward higher prices for these items.
Retail prices for pork products have not shown any meaningful relationship to corn prices over the past seven years. It is well documented that the recent acceleration in pork and bacon prices has been driven by piglet casualties resulting from porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. These retail price increases have occurred at a time when corn prices have been plunging.
Retail ground beef prices have steadily and smoothly trended higher over the past seven years, showing no obvious response to wide swings in corn prices.

So, if there is no apparent link between corn prices and retail food prices what causes changes in food costs for American consumers?

Transportation costs.

Which, thanks to the ridiculous monopoly held by Big Oil, means that fuel prices and energy costs have a much bigger impact on the price of our food than any other single factor. Just how closely linked are petroleum prices and food costs?

Since 2000, the U.N. food index and world crude oil prices have had a near-perfect correlation (0.97 coefficient).

foodvfuel2014rfa

Thanks to our friends at the Renewable Fuels Association for their research.

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Gasoline gives better return on investment than ethanol – Our Response

In a recent letter to the editor that appeared in the Green Bay Press Gazette a few statements were made that we at the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance would like to address.

The letter brought up ethanol’s energy return on investment based on a ratio comparison to gasoline. But, if ethanol provides lower power than gasoline, why do both IndyCar and NASCAR use it to boost horsepower?

Without losing any horsepower or speed on the track, IndyCar Series cars burned 20,000 fewer gallons of fuel using ethanol than previous seasons using methanol.”IndyCar

The transition to the biofuel reduced on-track carbon emissions and teams report an increase in horsepower.”NASCAR.com

American-Ethanol-flag-922x520.jpg.main

 

The letter also mentions ‘subsidies:’

“If ethanol is such a good idea, then get rid of the government subsidies and mandates and let the marketplace determine whether this is a viable product.”

The truth is:

the $0.45 per gallon VEETC (known as the Blender’s Tax Credit since it was paid to oil companies and not to farmers or ethanol plants) was terminated by Congress in December 2011, along with the $0.54 per gallon tariff that protected US ethanol producers from heavily subsidized Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. You are probably aware that commencing January 1, 2012 the ethanol industry received no subsidies at all from the federal government on a per-gallon basis.” – Eric McAfee

On top of that,

“Compare the biofuels industry to the oil and gas industry, which receives more than $100 billion per year of direct cash subsidy from the US taxpayer: 1) 100% tax-free earnings using Master Limited Partnerships to own facilities and pipelines (MLP’s are illegal to use for biofuels facilities); 2) accelerated tax write-offs for well drilling (illegal for corn farmers and ethanol plants); and 3) more than $100 billion per year of military protection for shipping lanes and foreign oil fields.” - Eric McAfee

The letter mentioned the “food vs fuel” myth, too:

we are converting our food supply into gasoline when corn prices have caused food produced from corn to increase in price by 10-25 percent leading to food riots in Mexico because of the increase in the cost of corn tortillas.

Well…

USDA found that biofuels like ethanol were only responsible for .2 percent of the 4.8 percent increase in grocery bills during the first four months of 2008.” – Growth Energy

dollar

 

The reason behind the majority of the increase in corn prices was due to speculation and rising fuel costs.

The World Bank — who published a research paper several years ago claiming biofuels were to blame for rising food prices — reversed its position recently with a new study entitled Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective. The study’s authors found that “the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as originally thought, but that the use of commodities by financial investors (the so-called ‘financialization of commodities’) may have been partly responsible for the 2007/08 spike.” – World Bank (Page 2 of PDF)

ethanol use of corn

 

Ethanol is a crucial part of a sensible approach to fulfill America’s energy needs. At the very least consumers should have access to new biofuels like E15. People want choices at the pump. They want cheaper gas that’s safe for their cars and won’t pollute the air.

Simply expanding the number of locations in Wisconsin that offer E15 as a choice for consumers will create hundreds of millions of dollars in rural economic growth and in just five years could take 15 million barrels of foreign oil off our roads by displacing 300 million gallons of gasoline in our state alone.

Tell your local retailer to put in an E15 pump and share this information with your friends!

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General Wesley Clark: Ethanol is the right choice

Wesley Clark

“This is about a cheaper fuel, it’s about a fuel that’s cleaner in the environment and it’s about reducing the $300 billion dollars a year the US sends abroad to purchase oil from foreign countries.” – General Wesley Clark, US Army, Retired

Via Chicago Tonight

 

View the full video below:

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Media Release – Wisconsin adds more E-15 pumps

Monday, May 5, 2014
Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Grassroots effort to gather signatures gains momentum

MILWAUKEE – Almost a year ago today, as gas prices continue to rise, the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is excited to announce even more fuel choices for consumers.

Beaver Dam based United Cooperative is now offering E15 at 10 stations throughout Wisconsin. The addition of these Wisconsin convenience stores bumps the total number of E15 stations to 75 in 12 states. United Cooperative now has blender pumps at their Cenex convenience stores in Beaver Dam, Baraboo, Hustisford, Iron Ridge, Pickett, Poynette, Reedsburg, Watertown, and Wyocena.

E15 made up of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. The fuel has been approved for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, SUVs, and flex-fuel vehicles since January 2011.

“It’s important for consumers to know that E15 is not for all engines, but it can be used by more than 75% of light duty vehicles on the road today, representing more than 85% of the unleaded fuel sold,” said Joshua Morby of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

E15 was first made available to consumers in Wisconsin one year ago at the SmartStation in Platteville, a wholly owned subsidiary of Badger State Ethanol.

“The expansion of E15 in Wisconsin is only the beginning as retailers continue to see the economic benefits of installing blender pumps and offering higher-level ethanol blends to their customers,”

 said Morby. “As an industry we’ve been working with small engine manufactures, trade groups and retailers to educate them about E15. At the end of the day when consumers start to see cheaper options that don’t harm their engines and burn cleaner that oil, we’re going to see more E15 sold in Wisconsin. It’s just a matter of time.”

The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is a diverse group of businesses, environmental groups and statewide and local organizations that have come together to build both public and legislative awareness of the Bio Industry in Wisconsin.

For more information about the Alliance, or to find out how to join, please visit our website: http://www.wisconsinbioindustry.com.

You can find audio clips of the quotes  from WBIA Executive Director Josh Morby here.

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Media Release – Saudi oil company funds anti-ethanol campaign

Tuesday, May 1, 2014

Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Wisconsin producers participate in aid campaign to highlight facts

 

MILWAUKEE –Recent records obtained by Americans United for Change connect the American Petroleum Institute, and it’s past campaigns, to Saudi companies and individuals (click here for details).

“The oil industry has long used misinformation to convince American consumers that ethanol is an inferior fuel when the reality is that it is the most-tested fuel in history, and has been proven to be efficient,” said Joshua Morby Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance. “In Wisconsin, ethanol contributes to rural prosperity, helps secure our energy independence, and supports over 19,000 jobs.”

The campaign points out the close ties between the American Petroleum Institute’s board and funding and the Saudi state oil company, Saudi Aramco.

The 30-second TV spot accompanying the campaign can be found here.

The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is a diverse group of businesses, environmental groups and statewide and local organizations that have come together to build both public and legislative awareness of the Bio Industry in Wisconsin.

For more information about the Alliance, or to find out how to join, please visit our website: http://www.wisconsinbioindustry.com.

For audio files of the above quotes click here.

 

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Oil Rigged – Big Oil is misleading America

 

“Ethanol is the lowest cost transportation fuel in the world.”

 

Bold words this morning from the President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen. But, it’s true! Ethanol has proven to be one of our best options for powering our Nation and moving America forward – which is exactly why Big Oil has been stacking the deck against ethanol blends for years.

Today, the national ethanol advocacy group, Fuels America is launching a nationwide campaign to draw attention to the many ways Big Oil is using misinformation to skew public opinion and convince our lawmakers that oil is the way to go.

In fact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil industry has spent $885 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions to our legislators in the past five years…

That’s more than $1 million for each and every single member of Congress.

Big Oil has been rigging the system for far too long. Help us stop the misinformation! Take a look at OilRigged.com and together we can keep moving America forward.

 

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The WBIA goes to Washington

Every year, the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance joins national ethanol advocacy group, the Renewable Fuel Association, for their annual Washington, D.C. lobbying day. This year, the WBIA’s Executive Director Joshua Morby and President Robert Sather had meetings with nearly every one of the offices of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.

“This is not really about left or right,” says Josh Morby, “Wisconsin’s ethanol industry is vital to the economic growth of our rural communities. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars going into the pockets and cash registers of Wisconsinites. Plus, ethanol is cleaner to burn than gasoline and helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We have to make sure we fight for this industry here in Wisconsin.”

The primary goal of the WBIA’s visit to DC last week was to make sure our federal lawmakers are aware of the biggest threat to ethanol – proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RFS is a 2007 law that was designed to encourage America to shift away from fossil fuels. Passed with bipartisan support, the RFS has been considered the single most effective piece of legislation in reducing America’s greenhouse gas pollution.

A key part of the RFS is the Renewable Volume Obligation, which by law mandates that a certain percentage of every gallon of gasoline sold in America contain ethanol. The goal was not to endorse ethanol but to push our transportation fuels infrastructure to lean forwards and reduce our dependence on foreign petroleum. Over the past year, the RVO has been attacked by the oil industry, culminating in a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to potentially remove or lower the volume obligation. This would be a mistake. We can’t let the oil industry’s inconvenience stifle research into new fuels.

“We understand this is polarizing. We understand that it’s a complex issue.” Said WBIA President Robert Sather, “There’s been a lot of study that has gone into this, and the evidence does not back up the claims of our opponents. The RFS and the RVO are not going to make it so the oil industry is no longer profitable. The concept of a ‘blend wall,’ a point where they run out of ethanol to mix into the gasoline supply is absurd. It’s not real.”

Armed only with handouts of ethanol’s economic impact in Wisconsin, the WBIA met with seven of our ten Congressional offices to share a state of the market update with legislators.

“Part of the WBIA’s mission is education, and we take that seriously. So when we meet with our elected officials we’re there mostly as educators. If they know about the industry and our value to the state they can form their own thoughts. “Says Josh Morby, “And because of that, for nearly ten years our relationships in Madison, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. have only grown.”

 

For more information on the proposed changes to the RFS click here for the EPA’s summary.

To learn more about the “blend wall,” take a look at this breakdown from the RFA.

If you want to see what the RFS is all about, check out this summary from Growth Energy.

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US Automakers Approve Use of E15 in New Vehicles

The two major US automakers made a great announcement for the US ethanol industry today. Check out what The Hill reported:

Ford and General Motors Inc. have approved use of a higher concentration of ethanol fuel in new vehicles — a significant victory for the biofuels industry.

New GM and Ford vehicles will accept a fuel blend that’s 15 percent ethanol, as opposed to the standard 10 percent blend. For GM, that will begin with 2012 models, while Ford will accommodate the fuel in 2013 models, according to Oil Price Information Service, which first reported the news.

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Looking for an E85 station?

Categories: ethanol

Did you know there are currently 2837 E85 stations in the United States located in 1945 cities? If you’re not sure where your nearest station is, the US Department of Energy has a website that can locate it for you.

Click here to check it out.

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WBIA staffer Cara McCarthy on ethanol

Cara McCarthy on ethanol

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