WBIA BLOG

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

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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

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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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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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Media Release – Study highlights ethanol’s impact on Wisconsin

 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Ethanol Industry helps employ 6,000 people and indirectly generates $980 million in wages for the renewable fuel sector

 

MILWAUKEE – A new study has shown that the renewable fuels industry in Wisconsin, including conventional and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels, generates $4.2B of total economic output annually.

“In addition to protecting our environment, producing a clean, renewable motor fuel for our cars, ethanol is big business for Wisconsin,” said Joshua Morby Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance’s. “For too long the oil industry has spewed lies and misinformation about our industry. In partnership with other ethanol producers from across the country, we’re taking a stand.”

The ethanol industry in Wisconsin is part of a national effort that includes paid advertising and legislative outreach aimed at protecting federal policy.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was responsible for millions of dollars of private investment that laid the groundwork for the kind of returns this study highlights,” said Morby.

For more information about the study and to find additional specifics about the impact it has on Wisconsin click 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 Josh Morby’s quotes, click here.

 

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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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Ag. Secretary Tom Vilsack at Wisconsin State Fair on biofuels

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WBIA staffer Cara McCarthy on ethanol

Cara McCarthy on ethanol

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Dueling Fuels: Minnesota and Wisconsin to Face Off in Friendly E85 Rivalry

Two gas stations on opposite sides of the St. Croix River will compete to sell the most E85 fuel on June 2. The Freedom Valu Center in Maplewood, Minnesota and River Hills BP in Somerset, Wisconsin will sell their E85 fuel at a $.85 cent discount between 4-6 p.m. Thursday as a way to promote the use of cleaner fuels.

The ethanol-based fuel can save drivers money as well as improve the quality of air we breathe. The beginning of summer is also the kickoff for ozone season, the main ingredient of smog.  Using the ethanol based fuel E85 can combat the increase of smog during summer months and decrease the risk of adverse health effects including asthma.

The promotions are supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Bob & Steve’s BP Amoco Shops, Erickson Oil, American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and MN & WI Clean Air Choice Teams.

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Find Alternative Fuel On the Go

Finding fuel for your alternative fuel vehicle while on the go just got much simpler.  The U.S. Department of Energy has created a new mobile app with easy-to-use Google technology that allows users to find the five closest locations for filling up with alternative fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, E85 (etha­nol), hydrogen, natural gas and propane.  The app provides users with driving directions, business hours and contact information.

Until more alternative fuel stations are built, allowing these important industries to flourish, this app will serve as a great resource for consumers who are dedicated to using these fuels to ensure our nation’s energy security and economic growth.

Click here for more information and to download the app.

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Biofuels advancement taking place right here

Wisconsin continues to lead the way in bio industry advancement.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison research group at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center developed a strain of bacteria which could lead to more cost-effective cellulosic biofuels. The team’s findings were published online by the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology on June 11.

The breakthrough has made it possible to perform genetic analysis on the bacteria, which has long been known to convert biomass to sugars. The team developed a way to mutate any gene with the bacteria, which should bring greater success to the difficult process of breaking down plant cell walls to extract sugar molecules for producing biofuels.

Also advancing the bio industry is Milwaukee-based Lallemand Ethanol Technology, which just introduced Thermosacc® GOLD, a new fresh-cake yeast better able to withstand fermentation. Thermosacc GOLD was designed to use sugars more efficiently and increase yield.

The WBIA is proud to see Wisconsin leading the way in the biofuels industry, and we hope this is just the beginning of Wisconsin’s contribution to the global movement toward bio power.

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