A blog post from WBIA Executive Director, Joshua Morby.
The ethanol industry has had a rough couple of weeks. Between a national story full of inaccuracies, coupled with the EPA’s recommendation to roll back the number of gallons of ethanol blended into domestic gasoline supplies. The question remains however, what all this pontificating from ethanol’s supporters and opponents will really mean for Wisconsin.
Here’s what we do know.
Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the Renewable Volume Obligation for conventional renewable fuel from the statutory level of 14.4 billion gallons to 13.01 billion gallons.
For Wisconsin producers, which rank #7 nationally in terms of production with close to 500 million gallons, this could mean trouble. Our nine plants represent more than a billion dollars of economic activity for our state’s agriculture industry alone, not to mention the money those plants spend on professional services, technology, and the payroll in their home communities.
Ethanol really does help keep gas prices down. The challenge our industry faces is telling that story and making it stick. As recently as last week there was a front page story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the recent drop in gas prices in Southeast Wisconsin but no mention of the role ethanol played.
Just this morning, the price of a gallon of ethanol was more than 80 cents less than the price of a gallon of pure gasoline. With the national retail price of gas of hovering around $3.20, the fact that ethanol is blended at a rate of 10 percent with almost every gallon of gas sold means it plays a significant role in helping control gas prices. As more ethanol is blended, prices will drop.
Consumers should be able to make their own choices at the pump, not have them dictated by big oil companies or politicians in Washington.
While the horse-trading takes place in Washington, fans of cheaper gas, more choices at the pump, energy independence and renewable fuel must get involved. While our Wisconsin delegation in Wisconsin remains pretty well split along partisan lines in their support of ethanol, Governor Walker has kept a fairly low profile compared to many of our neighboring states.
While the political upside may not be there for Governor Walker to come out as a vocal supporter of the ethanol industry and the federal requirements that protect Wisconsin’s rural communities, there is a clear economic upside.
Call Governor Walker and tell him you support the Wisconsin ethanol industry and want him to also. He can show his support by calling the president and asking him to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard. He can be reached at 608-266-1212.
You can find the point-counter point on the mentioned AP article here.Permalink + Share This