WBIA BLOG

- ACTION ALERT – Tell Congress to protect the RFS

On behalf of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance, Wisconsin’s ethanol producers, Wisconsin’s corn growers, and most importantly, everyday Wisconsin consumers we need YOU to tell your representatives to defend the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The same bill that failed to pass in the House when introduced in 2013 has once again been brought up by Republican Representatives Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Steve Womack of Arkansas and Democrats Peter Welch of Vermont and Jim Costa of California.

This second attempt to introduce a bill that would reform the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program in the United States, targeting an end to ethanol fuel-blending mandates, comes on the heels of a similar, and also failed, attempt in the Senate.

“The lawmakers said the bill would eliminate requirements for corn-based ethanol blending and cap blending levels for other biofuels at actual production levels. They hope the latest move will garner support now after months of disputes over how much biofuel should be blended with oil-based fuels and growing concerns that the program drives up agriculture and food costs.”
- New York Times

Despite the fact that ethanol doesn’t impact food prices nearly as much as petroleum does or that the RFS is the single most important policy driver of innovative technologies in the biofuels sector, these lawmakers still want to hobble American consumers with Big Oil’s greed.

Help us send a message to Washington that American consumers deserve a choice at the pump.

You can tweet this message, call your congressman, or send a note to your congressman.

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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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EPA’s delay on RFS decision is a mixed bag for Wisconsin consumers

Categories: Uncategorized

The Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday (Nov. 21) that it would not be finalizing the Renewable Fuel Standards’ renewable fuel volume obligations before the end of the year. Wisconsin farmers and ethanol industry experts are pleased with the delayed decision, but worry that it might further complicate the success of the Wisconsin corn industry and the future of renewable fuel use and technology.

The RFS was a bipartisan effort by Congress to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers and help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. When the EPA proposed cuts to Big Oil’s obligations on blending renewable fuels it jeopardizes American farmers and consumers.

And that was apparent to many farmers, renewable fuel advocates, and concerned citizens all across America. Nearly 200,000 people filed public comments with the EPA regarding the proposed cut.

Though the EPA has pushed back their decision, many worry that it signals declining support for the renewable fuels sector, which depends on the volume obligations to plan production. The EPA should reconsider its proposed changes to the RVO after such substantial grassroots feedback from American consumers. But this inability of the EPA to stand up to Big Oil and set the standards as they were intended creates uncertainty in the marketplace that should have been avoided, especially because the RFS is America’s biggest policy driver for renewable fuels.

Since it’s passing the RFS has created $184.5 billion in economic impact and supported 852,056 jobs, particularly in hard-hit rural America. Wisconsin’s nine ethanol plants produce more than 470 million gallons of ethanol annually. With a $4.2 billion economic impact, Wisconsin’s ethanol industry supports 19,080 jobs totaling $982 million in wages.

The EPA heard us, loud and clear: Don’t mess with the RFS. What remains to be seen is if they will give either American consumers or Big Oil what they want.

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9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit & Trade Show

Categories: Uncategorized

IowaRFA2015

The upcoming 9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will be hosted at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa on January 27th, 2015.

The Summit is FREE & open to the public though pre-registration is required.

Interact with industry leaders and decision-makers as you listen to experts discuss state and national issues impacting the future of renewable fuels, with a focus on the impacts of the mid-term elections on U.S. energy policy, the future of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and emerging opportunities for cellulosic ethanol, E15, and biodiesel. Learn More.

 

Presented by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities
Summit sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are available. Click here to learn more.

The Meadows Conference Center
This year’s conference will be hosted at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Click here to learn more.

Hotel Accommodations
Hotel rooms are available at discounted rates. Use the group code and reserve your room today.

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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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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

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!

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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