Rep. Sensenbrenner takes aim at E15 (again)

The water cooler conversation these days around gas is centered mostly on prices dipping below $2 a gallon.

While that’s the case, the ethanol industry both here in Wisconsin as well as across the country is still focused on opening up new markets for ethanol with the sale of E15.

As these efforts continue to move forward in Wisconsin, our favorite congressman from West Bend Jim Sensenbrenner continues his antics as the world’s biggest ethanol hater.

His most recent move was to once again introduce a ridiculous piece of legislation that would mandate completely unnecessary testing for E15.

Ethanol has become Congressman Sensenbrenner’s “white whale” and at this point it’s getting silly. This bill has been repeatedly introduced over the past four years and does nothing more than get headlines and give him something to complain about.

Take a look at this infographic the Renewable Fuels Association put together for their E15 campaign in Illinois that breaks down E15′s proven reliability.

RFA_Chicago Legal Size V5-page-001

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2015 – The year of increased E85 sales?

A recent study completed by the Fuels Institute predicts an increase in the sale of E85 in the Unites States. The report finds that based on various market drivers the sales of E85 will likely double by 2023, but could increase by as much as 20-fold in that same time frame.

Stations that currently sell E85 account for roughly 2.2% of the total retail fuel stations in America, but Vehicle Station Density numbers show there is more opportunity in the market for a greater number of E85 stations. The Fuels Institute found an average of 1,466 light duty vehicles per retail fueling station in the United States, compared with 5,289 Flex-Fuel Vehicles per E85 station, an indication that there is greater demand than is currently being met for E85 fueling stations.

The report forecasts that by 2023 the total number of FFVs on the road in the US would be 25.9 million, with 8,907 to 11,151 E85 stations available for them to fuel.

Wisconsin has 146 E85 stations and 277,096 registered FFVs, per the State Energy Office.


About the Fuels Institute:

The Fuels Institute, founded by the National Association of Convenience Stores in 2013, is a non-profit research-oriented think tank dedicated to evaluating the market issues related to consumer vehicles and the fuels that power them.

The Fuels Institute report can be found here.

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Big Oil’s misinformation

The long stated myth that ethanol is to blame for higher food prices has been most recently debunked by new data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ international food price index.

According to the FAO, in the past year, domestic grain prices have gone down about 9 percent, but meat prices are over 20 percent higher – all of this in a time when national ethanol production has risen slightly in the US.

Big Oil is spending millions of dollars trying to con American consumers into believing that ethanol production raises the price of their food. They are basing their campaigns on lies and misinformation in an effort to limit consumer choices at the pump.

Domestic prices for corn and other grains are dropping quickly while meat prices for consumers are up 11.6 percent in the same time period. Clearly, grain pricing has little to do with what consumers end up paying as food prices in most of the US are up 2.5 percent compared to last year while farmers are struggling to make a profit.

“Corn prices are below the cost of production for most farmers, and ethanol is selling approximately $1 per gallon less than the gasoline on the wholesale marketplace,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “The unrelenting deception coming from these trade associations to continue to perpetuate this lie to mask their growing profits at the expense of the American consumer is deplorable. Their greed and deception knows no boundaries. It’s time for Big Oil and its Big Food allies to begin telling the truth.”

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Hunger Action Month

1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger.

It’s a difficult reality to face, but there are people in America, in each of our communities, who have difficulty feeding their families. The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is proud to be a partner of Feeding America in Wisconsin and over the next couple of weeks we will be posting content related to the food insecurities felt by many Americans.

Feeding America

Today, we urge you to learn a little about Feeding America and their Invest an Acre program. Through the work of this organization, founded in 1982, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites have enjoyed a good meal when they needed it.

Through warehouses in Milwaukee and the Fox Valley, Feeding America in WI distributes more than 22 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 pantries, meal programs and other nonprofit agencies that serve 330,000 people in eastern Wisconsin.

Their Milwaukee distribution center provides food to nearly 800 nonprofit programs in nine counties and their Fox Valley branch provides food to 200 nonprofit programs in 27 counties.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin was founded in 1982 by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. Since a first donation of a bushel of apples, they have distributed more than 330 million pounds of food to the hungry in our state!


We hope you’ll visit them at FeedingAmericaWI.org and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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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



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.


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



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!

Connect with the WBIA: FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

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Wisconsin Ethanol Poll – Hosted by the WBIA

Recently, the WCGA released a poll showing Wisconsin citizens favor the use of ethanol in fuel by a 2 to 1 margin. 60% of individuals support blending ethanol into gasoline versus only 32% who oppose.

“Less than one third (32%) of participants were unsupportive of ethanol blends in their fuel,” said Joshua Morby Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

“Clearly the public understands what Big Oil is doing their best to cover up and ignore: Ethanol is cleaner-burning, efficient, and homegrown right here in Wisconsin.”

The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance will offer a detailed analysis of the responses from WBIA and WCGA representatives. The webinar will be available as a live YouTube stream through Google Hangouts on Tuesday, August 12th at 2:00pm CST. Viewers can post comments and ask questions before, during, and after the webinar.

The event details can be found on WBIA’s Google+ page. To view the live webinar on August 12th, interested parties can find the live stream below.


The poll surveyed 500 likely voters in Wisconsin and was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.

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WI Wins Border Battle

Wisconsin and Minnesota Clean Air Choice teams battled it out this week to see who could pump more E85 in two hours at two locations on the WI and MN border. With Alice in Dairyland’s help pumping E85, Wisconsin won the battle! In total, over 1,000 gallons of E85 were pumped, preventing 4 tons of emissions from entering the air. This friendly competition made a significant impact on ensuring the we all have clean air to breathe – way to go everyone!

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DOE Announces $5M Biomass Research Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a new $5 million funding opportunity for research focused on sustainable production of large quantities of non-food biomass for bioenergy.  Biomass will play a significant role in our country’s renewable fuels portfolio, and can have a huge impact on Wisconsin’s economy.  Wisconsin doesn’t have coal, oil or natural gas reserves. We do have biomass, however, in the form of paper waste and woodchips.  Encouraging this industry in our state can create jobs and pump millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s economy.

For more information about the grant, visit the Grants.gov website.

To learn more about biomass, you can download fact sheets from our Bio Power page.

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