With EPA’s final label for E15 ethanol blends now in the books, the real work must begin. Educating retailers about the safe and legal sale of the E15 blends, expanding ethanol fueling infrastructure, and putting the concerns of consumers to rest about the use of E15 in their approved vehicles must be and will be at the heart of what the ethanol industry and the RFA do in the coming months and years.
Despite several anti-biofuels groups trying to spin results, a new study released by the Geneva-based International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) strongly supports the argument that biofuels policy has had almost nothing to do with food price increases in recent years. The study found that “…US ethanol subsidies during this period (2005-2009) had little impact on consumer prices and quite modest impacts on crop prices.”
It is en vogue for many international non-governmental organizations to blame biofuels for food insecurity and price volatility, as though such issues didn’t exist before the advent of biofuel production. Erroneously, many argue that simply stopping biofuel production will halt hunger as we know it. Unfortunately, these groups often contradict themselves and nearly universally fail to address the chief driver of food price increases: the soaring price of oil.
For ethanol interests, the United States Senate was a cauldron of confusion this week. As is often the case in Washington, things are not as they appear. This week's ethanol debate had little to do with ethanol and even less to do with true energy policy. It was old fashioned political theater.
In politics, it is always wise to follow the money – both good and bad. In the case of Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) efforts to kill American ethanol production, the money tells the story.
Today was a busy day for ethanol and grain market data junkies. First, USDA released its June supply-demand estimates, which showed a downward revision to 2011 planted and harvested corn acres. Second, government data on April exports of ethanol and distillers grains was released, showing another record month of ethanol exports and huge shipments to Brazil.
The fine folks at STIHL Incorporated have recently recalled 2.3 million gasoline-powered yard tools like edgers and trimmers. The reason? Ethanol, says STIHL. But an examination of the facts, and STIHL own warranties approving the use of 10% ethanol blends, demonstrates that the issue not with the fuel, but with the engineering of the equipment itself.
As if more evidence was needed that America must end its coerced affair with OPEC, Javier Blas at the Financial Times reports that $100+ oil is likely the new norm. Why? Because OPEC members like Venezuela and Iran need to balance their books after years of “rampant military spending.”
Whether it’s the surprising price spread between WTI and Brent crude prices, declining oil imports, lower gasoline prices at the pump, or the frayed nerves of a Saudi oil minister, U.S. ethanol is clearly having a meaningful impact on U.S. and global oil supplies, demand, and prices.