Geoff Cooper, SVP of Research and Analysis

Geoff Cooper

Geoff Cooper

Geoff Cooper is RFA’s Senior Vice President of Research and Analysis. In addition to overseeing market analysis and policy research, he provides regulatory support and strategic planning for the association and its members. Geoff also manages RFA programs related to sustainability and ethanol co-products.

Blog Posts by Geoff Cooper, SVP of Research and Analysis

It’s Final—Forbes is Terribly Misinformed on Ethanol

April 21, 2014

James Conca’s recent article in Forbes badly mischaracterizes the recent IPCC reports and rehashes long-disproven myths and misinformation about corn ethanol. RFA responded with facts.

Posted in Corn, Corn prices, Environment, Ethanol, Renewable Fuel Standard

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Scientists Urge CARB to Revisit LCFS Land Use Change Penalties

March 10, 2014

CARB must do the right thing and follow the advice of the scientific community.

Posted in Corn, Environment, Ethanol, Land Use

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Super-sized Hogwash: Examining the Chain Restaurants’ Rhetoric about the RFS and Food Prices

February 27, 2014

Chain restaurants are outrageously suggesting the RFS is increasing food and commodity prices, but the facts prove otherwise.

Posted in Food, Renewable Fuel Standard

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U.S. Ethanol Exports Top 620 Million Gallons in 2013 While Imports Fall, DDGs Exports Set New Record

February 06, 2014

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 621.5 million gallons in 2013, the third-highest annual total on record.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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Ethanol Exports Skyrocket in November; DDGS Exports Set New Monthly Record

January 08, 2014

U.S. ethanol exports surged to 82.4 million gallons (mg) in November, up 54% from the previous month and the highest monthly level since March 2012.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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Reduction to 2014 RVOs Would be a Financial Windfall for Big Oil

November 06, 2013

Big Oil has developed a laundry list of excuses for refusing to embrace the RFS, but let's be honest. Its crusade against the RFS isn’t about the interests of the American consumer. It’s about money, market share, and snuffing out competition.

Posted in Big Oil, EPA, Ethanol, Gas Prices, Oil, RINs, RVOs

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Analyzing the Impacts of Big Oil’s RFS “Dream Scenario”

October 16, 2013

The markets were abuzz last week with a rumor about EPA’s pending 2014 RVO proposal that suggested the agency was mulling the idea of cutting the “renewable fuel” portion from 14.4 billion gallons to 13.0 billion. Here's an examination of the likely impacts of “Big Oil’s dream scenario.”

Posted in Corn prices, Ethanol, Gas Prices, Renewable Fuel Standard

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A Reality Check on API’s “RFS Reality Gap” Report

September 19, 2013

It’s time for a reality check. RFA's Geoff Cooper offers rebuttals to API’s far-fetched arguments from its recently-released report, tells the “rest of the story” that was conveniently omitted from the report’s misleading charts, and underscores the importance of staying the course with the RFS.

Posted in Environment, Oil, Production, Renewable Fuel Standard

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July Sees Flat Ethanol Exports, Surge in Imports; DDG Exports Second-Highest Ever

September 04, 2013

Ethanol exports totaled 35.1 million gallons (mg) in July, up just 3% over June shipments. Imports totaled 56.8 mg, meaning the U.S. was a net importer for the second straight month.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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N.D. Oil Industry Flares Off $1B Worth of Natural Gas…But Balks at Investments in Renewable Fuels

August 29, 2013

According to a recent study, government data show that nearly 30% of the natural gas extracted as a byproduct of fracking for oil in North Dakota is being burned off, or “flared.” That’s right, three out of every 10 cubic feet of natural gas extracted in North Dakota ends up being burned at the wellhead and released into the atmosphere.

Posted in Energy, Environment, Oil

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June Ethanol Imports Fall to Lowest Level in Nearly Three Years

August 06, 2013

U.S. ethanol exports fell to 34 million gallons (mg) in June, down 17% from May and the lowest monthly total since August 2010. Meanwhile, ethanol imports were 35.7 mg in June, meaning the U.S. was a net importer for the first time in six months.

Posted in DDGS, E-Xchange, Ethanol, Exports

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What do Big Oil’s Quarterly Earnings Say About the Real Impact of RINs on U.S. Gas Prices?

August 01, 2013

It’s not surprising that many oil companies are yet again reporting huge profits for their quarterly financial results, but what is somewhat surprising is what these companies are telling investors, analysts, and the SEC about the real impacts of the RFS and RINs on their bottom line and U.S. fuel prices. Here are several revealing statements from these companies.

Posted in Gas Prices, Oil, Renewable Fuel Standard

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U.S. Ethanol Exports Firm in May; Distillers Grains Exports Hit 1-Year High

July 08, 2013

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 40.8 million gallons (mg) in May, nearly identical to April’s total of 40.9 mg, according to recently released government data.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports, Production

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U.S. Ethanol Exports Tumble in April; Imports Lowest in 11 Months

June 04, 2013

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 40.9 million gallons (mg) in April, down 30% from March and the lowest monthly total since November 2012. Fuel ethanol imports totaled just 17.1 mg.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports, Production

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What ILUC? Amazon Deforestation Rates Hit Lowest Point Since at Least 1988

May 28, 2013

Geoff Cooper responds to US ethanol causing "indirect land use change" and the continuous annual reduction in deforestation rates resulting in the lowest point since 1988.

Posted in Agriculture, Brazil, Corn, Energy, Environment, Ethanol, Land Use

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Ethanol, Corn Prices, Government Payments, and the REAL Reason Meat Groups Oppose the RFS

May 06, 2013

One of the questions posed by the House Energy & Commerce Committee asked whether ethanol and the RFS have impacted corn prices. Our response? Yes, of course ethanol expansion has added value to corn prices—that was the point!

Posted in Corn prices, Ethanol, Renewable Fuel Standard, USDA

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March Exports/Imports: “Ethanol Shuffle” with Brazil Alive and Well

May 02, 2013

The U.S. remained a net exporter in March by a slim margin. March exports of ethanol totaled 58.8 million gallons, up 38% from February. Canada was again the leading destination.

Posted in Brazil, DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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Big Oil’s Choice: Complain About 70-Cent RINs, or Invest 6 Cents in Modern Infrastructure?

March 22, 2013

Recent rhetoric from Big Oil about the economic impacts of RINs got us thinking: If oil refiners and gasoline marketers actually decided to invest in the modern fuel distribution infrastructure needed to dispense greater than E10 blends, what would it cost them in comparison to the wild “compliance cost" claims they make today?

Posted in Ethanol, Oil, Renewable Fuel Standard

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Stop the RINsanity: Fact-checking Big Oil’s claims on RIN price effects

March 12, 2013

Oil companies have suggested that increased prices for conventional ethanol RINs (Renewable Identification Numbers) are leading to higher gasoline prices at the pump. Some have even deceptively claimed RINs are adding as much as $0.10 per gallon to the retail price of gasoline. This assertion is completely absurd and is easily disproven with a series of very simple calculations. Truth be told, ethanol continues to sell at a discount to gasoline and continues to offer savings at the pump, even when the impact of higher RIN prices is considered.

Posted in E15, Ethanol, Gas Prices

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Ethanol and Distillers Grains Exports Snap Back in January

March 08, 2013

U.S. ethanol exports increased 16 percent over December, as shipments of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 63.6 million gallons (mg), according to government data released yesterday.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports

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Response to “Recent Land Use Change in the Western Corn Belt Threatens Grasslands and Wetlands”

February 20, 2013

The study's findings stand in stark contrast to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) acreage data, which show increased corn and soybean acres in the region have occurred via crop switching, not cropland expansion.

Posted in Land Use

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2012 Ethanol Exports Total 739 Million Gallons; Canada is Top Destination

February 11, 2013

Final data is in: Ethanol exports total 739 million gallons for 2012.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports

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2012 Food Price Increases Were Second-Lowest in 20 Years

January 31, 2013

Food prices rose just 1.8% in 2012, the second-lowest annual rate in the last 20 years. The new data demonstrates the absurdity of the alarmist rhetoric coming from Big Food.

Posted in Ethanol, Food, Renewable Fuel Standard

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Ethanol and Distillers Grains Exports Tumble in November

January 11, 2013

U.S. ethanol exports fell to their lowest level of the year in November. The monthly total was down 25 percent from October and the lowest since November 2010. November exports of both ethanol and distillers grains reflect the difficult operating environment following last summer’s historic drought.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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Don’t Believe Everything You Read.  Fact check on NYT’s Guatemala Corn/Ethanol Story

January 07, 2013

“Don’t believe everything you read.” Never have truer words been spoken. Here is a fact check of the January 6th New York Times article “As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs” by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

Posted in Corn, Corn prices, Ethanol

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U.S. Ethanol and DDG Exports Rebound in October; Ethanol Imports Remain High

December 12, 2012

U.S. exports of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) totaled 53.6 million gallons (mg) in October, up 8.6% from September and the highest since July. Canada was again the top destination. Year-to-date exports stood at 643.3 mg, implying an annual total of 772 mg.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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WASDE Report

December 11, 2012

Today’s WASDE report was a non-event as far as the corn balance sheet. However, there were some important surprises on the global side. Total global grain supplies were raised slightly to 2705.6 MMT, the second-largest on record.

Posted in Corn, DDGS, Production

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The Myth of “Skyrocketing” Food Prices

December 03, 2012

Food groups have been running a scare campaign against ethanol and the RFS, preying on the emotions of American consumers. Data show that food prices are NOT increasing abnormally and the average household pays less of its income on food today than it did 10 years ago.

Posted in Renewable Fuel Standard

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September Ethanol and Distillers Grains Exports

November 08, 2012

U.S. ethanol exports (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) totaled 49.4 million gallons (mg) in September, down 2% from August and the lowest monthly total of the year. Canada was the leading destination in September, bringing in 26.1 mg. Meanwhile, the U.S. imported 105.7 mg of ethanol, 92.5 mg of which was destined for fuel use. Nearly all of the ethanol imports came from Brazil. Distillers grains exports for the month totaled 600,545 metric tons (mt), up 11% from August. China was again the leading destination.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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August Ethanol Exports

October 12, 2012

U.S. ethanol exports in August fell to their lowest level in 22 months, according to government data released yesterday. August exports totaled 50.2 million gallons (mg), down 21% from July and the lowest since November 2010. Exports of denatured ethanol for fuel use totaled 33.2 mg, while undenatured ethanol for fuel use tallied 12.1 mg. Exports of distillers grains also dropped to their lowest volume of the year in August, with 541,639 metric tons (mt) being exported.

Posted in Brazil, Ethanol, Exports

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Second Response to EPRINC Report: “Ethanol’s Lost Promise”

September 21, 2012

An EPRINC report released on Sep. 14 entitled “Ethanol’s Lost Promise” advocates repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The paper suggests removing the RFS could reduce the oil refining sector’s ethanol consumption down to 6.1 billion gallons annually (compared to 12.5 billion gallons in 2011). EPRINC suggests the void left by smaller ethanol supplies could be filled with imported gasoline, increased gasoline yields at the expense of diesel/distillate production, expanding U.S. refining capacity, and other infeasible options. In response to RFA’s reaction to its study, EPRINC tried to defend it with yet more conflicting and misleading statements. Once again, RFA is stepping forward to refute fiction with fact.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports, Fuel, Gas Prices, Oil, Renewable Fuel Standard

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Response To EPRINC Study: “Ethanol’s Lost Promise”

September 18, 2012

A report released this week by EPRINC, an oil industry-funded research group, suggests a multi-year suspension of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) could reduce U.S. ethanol use by more than half. In this analysis, the RFA points out that in attempting to tear down the RFS, the EPRINC report actually underscores the importance of the program and highlights the lack of sensible or economic options available to refiners if ethanol use is severely curtailed.

Posted in Ethanol, Oil, Renewable Fuel Standard

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A Revelation at the Wall Street Journal

September 05, 2012

Less than a month ago, the famously anti-ethanol editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal howled that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was exacerbating drought-related "corn shortages" and "driv[ing] food prices up in a way that punishes consumers around the world…" And reaching deep into their dead-and-buried-biofuel-myth grab bag, they pulled out this emotional beauty: "…biofuel mandates increase hunger and hunger-related diseases at home and abroad…" Yet, yesterday, inconspicuously stashed on the WSJ "Real Time Economics" blog, is a short post by Neil Shah entitled "Hard to Pass Food-Price Spikes on to Consumers." In it, Mr. Shah breaks down data from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Agriculture and concludes the impact of the drought on food prices will be "manageable" and "far from crippling for the average consumer."

Posted in Corn prices, Drought, Ethanol, Food, Renewable Fuel Standard

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Impacts of Waiving the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on Household Spending on Food and Fuel

August 28, 2012

This summer, several governors have submitted letter to the EPA requesting a waiver of the RFS for 2012 and 2013. Analysis from the RFA shows that waiving the RFS requirements for 2013 would actually result in a net increase in annual household spending of approximately $24-$85 due to increased spending on gasoline. Thus, waiving the RFS in 2013 would do more harm to American consumers than if EPA allows the program to continue to function as designed.

Posted in Corn, Corn prices, Drought, EPA, Ethanol, Food, Renewable Fuel Standard

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Ethanol exports flat in June; Imports from Brazil surge

August 13, 2012

U.S. exports of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) totaled 59 million gallons (mg) in June. Year-to-date exports stood at 426.4 mg, implying an annualized total of 852.9 mg; however, anecdotal information suggests ethanol exports dropped off precipitously in July.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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USDA follow up:  Putting today’s report in context

August 10, 2012

As expected, this morning's supply-demand estimates from USDA showed a big reduction in the size of the 2012 corn crop and average yield. Today's report estimates average yield at 123.4 bushels per acre (bpa), down nearly 23 bpa from USDA's July estimate and the lowest yield since 1995.

Posted in Ethanol, USDA

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Drought, Ethanol and the RFS:  Context is key

August 09, 2012

Tomorrow morning’s USDA World Agriculture Supply-Demand Estimates (WASDE) report may very well be the most highly anticipated report in the agency’s long and storied history. It will offer USDA’s first survey-based estimates of the 2012 corn crop and average corn yields; and the universal expectation is that the persisting hot, dry weather in the Corn Belt this summer has substantially reduced the size of the crop.

Posted in Ethanol, USDA

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The 2012 Corn Crop and the Outlook for Ethanol

July 16, 2012

Extreme hot and dry weather across much of the Midwest this summer has caused government and private analysts to significantly reduce their projections of the size of the 2012 corn crop. This white paper briefly examines the potential impacts on the RFS and outlook for the ethanol industry.

Posted in Agriculture, Exports, Food, Renewable Fuel Standard, USDA

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May Ethanol Exports Drop to 9-Month Low; Distillers Grains Exports Surge to 19-Month High

July 11, 2012

U.S. exports of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) totaled 58.6 million gallons in May, down 21% from April and the lowest level since August 2011. May U.S. distillers grains exports totaled 761,470 metric tons (mt), reaching the highest level since November 2010.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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April Ethanol, Distiller Grains Exports Down from March

June 08, 2012

U.S. ethanol exports (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) totaled 74.4 million gallons (mg) in April. At 54.8 mg, denatured ethanol for fuel use accounted for the majority of April exports. Undenatured ethanol for fuel use totaled 13.3 mg, while denatured ethanol for non-fuel use was reported at 6.0 mg. Exports of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel tallied 342,000 gallons.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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Ethanol Keeps Gasoline Prices $1.09 Cheaper

May 15, 2012

America’s growing use of domestically-produced ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $1.09 per gallon in 2011, according to updated research conducted by economics professors at the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University.

Posted in Ethanol, Gas Prices

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Ethanol, DDGS Exports Move Higher in March

May 10, 2012

U.S. exports of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) totaled 83.4 million gallons (mg) in March, according to government data released this morning. Exports of distillers grains (or DDGS), the animal feed co-product manufactured by ethanol dry mills, totaled 641,402 metric tons (mt) in March.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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USDA Projects Record Corn Crop in 2012 - What Does it Mean for Ethanol?

May 10, 2012

This morning, USDA released its first estimate of the 2012 corn crop--and it is a big one. According to today’s USDA projections, record U.S. corn production of 14.79 billion bushels is expected in 2012. This should put an end to the phony “food vs. fuel” campaign, but we know better—even the most stubborn facts haven’t stopped ethanol’s critics from continuing to pursue their respective political agendas in the past.

Posted in Ethanol, Production

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Answering Crocodile Tears

May 01, 2012

In recent testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, Mr. Thomas O’Malley, chairman of PBF Energy, attempted to tar and feather ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as the root cause of refinery closures in the Northeast. Mr. O’Malley’s comments are more reflective of the petroleum industry’s crusade against renewable fuels and a willingness to play fast and loose with the facts.

Posted in Ethanol, Oil, Renewable Fuel Standard

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Ethanol and DDGS Exports Are Steady in February

April 12, 2012

According to government data released today, the U.S. exported 74.8 million gallons (mg) of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) in February. Year-to-date exports stand at 151.1 mg, indicating an annualized total of just over 900 mg for 2012.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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U.S. Ethanol Exports Strong in January; Brazil is Top Market

March 09, 2012

Government data released today showed the U.S. exported 76.3 million gallons (mg) of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) in January. This marks the highest total ever for the first month of the year, which is typically a slow month for U.S. ethanol exports.

Posted in Brazil, Ethanol, Exports

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Ethanol’s Role in Reducing Gas Prices

March 06, 2012

Gas prices are dominating the headlines and we have yet to embark on the summer driving season, the traditional kick-off to high gas prices. With Congress holding hearings this week on gas prices, the President holding a press conference today, voters taking to the polls today, and the energy world gathering in Houston this week, we have analyzed the data to provide background information on the downward pressure exerted by domestic ethanol production on gasoline prices.

Posted in Ethanol, Fuel

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2011 Ethanol Exports Total 1.19 Billion Gallons; Brazil Accounts for One-Third of Shipments

February 10, 2012

2011 was a huge year for ethanol exports. According to government data released this morning, the year ended with record monthly ethanol exports of 172.7 million gallons (mg) in December. More than 40% of December exports went to Brazil.

Posted in Brazil, Ethanol, Exports

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Another Record-Breaking Month for Ethanol Exports

January 13, 2012

U.S. exports of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol set a new monthly record of 152.5 million gallons (mg) in November, according to government data released this morning.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports

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Ethanol Remains a Bargain

January 10, 2012

Countless stories and editorials have noted that the tax incentive for the use of ethanol has been allowed to expire. What the majority of these stories fail to note is that ethanol remains the lowest cost transportation fuel on the market today – and thus, is saving consumers’ money.

Posted in Ethanol, VEETC

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Ethanol growth not leading to cropland expansion, new USDA report shows

December 21, 2011

An in-depth analysis of U.S. land use patterns released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows total cropland decreased by 34 million acres from 2002 to 2007, the lowest level since USDA began collecting this data 1945. The RFA said the new report is one more addition to the mounting body of evidence that proves increased ethanol production has not resulted in expansion of total U.S. cropland or a decline in grassland and forest.

Posted in Agriculture, Land Use, Research, USDA

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The Ethanol Shuffle

December 12, 2011

There’s a hot new craze called the “Ethanol Shuffle” that’s sweeping seaports from Sao Paulo to Los Angeles and Houston to Maceio. It’s not a new dance for longshoremen and ship captains; no, this is a shuffle of an entirely different sort. This shuffle is all about the confounded realignment of the global ethanol trade.

Posted in Brazil, Engines, Ethanol, Exports

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October Ethanol Exports Just Short of Monthly Record

December 09, 2011

U.S. exports of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 121.4 million gallons (mg) in October, just shy of the record of 127.4 mg established in June, according to government data released this morning.

Posted in Ethanol

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Ethanol Exports Surge in September, While Distillers Grains Exports Slide

November 10, 2011

Ethanol exports rebounded sharply in September, as shipments to Brazil hit their highest level since April. According to U.S. government data released today, a total of 105.8 million gallons (mg) of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol were exported in September. Year-to-date exports stood at 746.5 mg at the end of September, almost double the amount exported in the entire 2010 calendar year.

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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August Ethanol Exports Dip; DDGS Exports Surge

October 13, 2011

According to government data released today, U.S. ethanol exports went down sharply in the month of August. Exports of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 52.1 million gallons (mg). Meanwhile, distillers grains (DDGS) exports hit their highest level of the year. DDGS exports for the month totaled 829,489 metric tons (mt).

Posted in DDGS, Ethanol, Exports

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Fowl Policy:  Why Corn Stocks-to-Use Ratio Doesn’t Work as RFS Policy Foundation

October 05, 2011

Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) are pushing legislation that would require the EPA to waive a portion of the annual Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) when the corn stocks-to-use ratio falls below 10 percent. But history shows the ratio is, at best, a crude and highly volatile indicator of supply-demand that is not fit to serve as a mechanism for important public policy decision-making.

Posted in Renewable Fuel Standard

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A Fresh Look at Corn Stocks, Co-products, and Ethanol Production

September 30, 2011

According to the USDA quarterly grain stocks report released this morning, end stocks of corn for the 2010/2011 marketing year stand at 1.13 billion bushels. That is nearly 200 million bushels higher than many experts were predicting and an indication that the market is working to ensure sufficient supplies of corn remain available for all uses.

Posted in Agriculture, DDGS, Ethanol, Food, Production

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Another record month for U.S. ethanol exports

September 08, 2011

U.S. ethanol exports in July set a new monthly record, according to government data released today. Exports of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 127.4 million gallons in July, edging out the April total of 120.1 million gallons to set a new record. July exports were nearly double the amount exported in June.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports

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Improvements in Ethanol Process Result in Lower GHG Emissions

August 25, 2011

America is home to the most innovative, productive and efficient ethanol and grain producers in the world. This increasing productivity and efficiency contributes directly to ethanol’s ability to lower greenhouse gas emissions from gasoline on a lifecycle basis. American farmers and ethanol producers are consciously investing in technology that dramatically lowers their carbon footprint while producing more fuel, feed, and food than ever before.

Posted in Energy, Environment, Ethanol

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From farm to biorefinery: Ethanol production efficiency improves

August 18, 2011

In the second part of RFA’s series on the improving efficiencies of corn ethanol production, the focus will be specifically on input use—both on the farm and at the biorefinery.

Posted in Energy, Environment, Ethanol, Production, Water

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More Ethanol, Fewer Inputs, Increasing Benefits: More corn on fewer acres, less water

August 09, 2011

Over the past 30 years, and in particular in the past decade, ethanol production has quietly become increasingly efficient. From improvements in corn production to greater efficiencies at ethanol biorefineries, America’s leading renewable fuel is providing more with less.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, Food, Land Use, Production, Water

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Ethanol Policy and Meat Prices: Unspinning the Truth

June 23, 2011

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.”

Posted in Agriculture, Corn prices, Ethanol, Food, Research

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Blaming biofuels won’t feed the hungry

June 20, 2011

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.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, Food

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Ethanol Export Boom Continues; USDA Trims Corn Acre Estimate

June 09, 2011

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.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, Exports, Land Use, Production, USDA

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A Fresh Look at Ethanol’s Impact on Oil Markets: Weakening WTI, Waning Imports, and WikiLeaks

June 01, 2011

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.

Posted in Energy, Ethanol, Exports, Oil, Production

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Ethanol To Save Memorial Day Travelers $440 Million on Gasoline Purchases

May 25, 2011

For millions of Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. Despite gas prices that are nearly 40% higher than a year ago, families across the nation will celebrate the upcoming holiday weekend by taking a road trip. As families hit the road this weekend, the increasing availability of ethanol will ensure they spend considerably less on gasoline than would otherwise be the case.

Posted in Ethanol, Fuel

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FAO and GBEP: Biofuels an Opportunity - Not a Threat - for Developing Nations

May 25, 2011

Since its very inception, the global biofuels industry has unfairly been portrayed by some ardent detractors as a sector that creates an unavoidable “food vs. fuel” choice. Luddites and Malthusians have suggested that crop-based biofuels simply can’t provide significant volumes of energy for transportation without starving the world’s poor. Unfortunately, these extreme views of biofuels have sometimes been fortified by alarmist rhetoric and doomsday sound bites from leaders of major international organizations, quasi-governmental groups, and NGOs. Against this backdrop, it was quite refreshing to see two reports in the last week that highlight the extraordinary potential of biofuels to serve as agents of rural development and enhancers of food security in developing nations.

Posted in Agriculture, Energy, Ethanol, Food, Fuel, Land Use, Research

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March Ethanol Exports Set Another Record; USDA Predicts Record Corn Crop

May 12, 2011

Yesterday, USDA’s first estimate of 2011 corn supply and demand; and March ethanol export data was released. The USDA released it's first estimate of the 2011 corn crop, as well as 2011/12 demand. USDA is predicting 92.2 million acres of corn to be planted, 85.1 million harvested acres, and an average yield of 158.7 bushels per acre. This would produce a total crop of 13.5 billion bushels, an all-time record.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, USDA

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Five Big Problems with Big Oil’s New Analysis of RFS Implementation Issues

May 05, 2011

The Energy Policy Research Foundation (EPRINC) recently released a white paper inexplicably suggesting that the cost of the Federal ethanol program exceeds its benefits by a factor of 3 to 1. Among other debatable claims, the paper asserts that the rising cost of corn is a major obstacle to the expansion of the corn ethanol industry, irrespective of the fact that crude oil prices have surged to levels not seen since the 2008 commodity bubble and gasoline prices are approaching record highs.

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Thoughts on New CARD Analysis of Ethanol’s Impact on Corn Prices

April 20, 2011

The spin machines at the public relations firms employed by the nation's factory farms, junk food processors, and animal slaughter facilities are in full tilt. Predictably as the corn price rises as it did a few summers ago, these groups are feverishly trying to pin higher price on U.S. ethanol producers. A new anlysis concludes that such efforts are not supported by the facts.

Posted in Corn prices, Ethanol, VEETC

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February 2011 Ethanol and DDGS Exports

April 13, 2011

U.S. ethanol exports have increased 4% since January, according to government data that was released today. Distillers grains exports were down 13% compared to January, but slightly above February 2010 totals.

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RFA Analysis of USDA WASDE Report

April 08, 2011

This morning, the USDA release their April WASDE report, which will likely ease some of the tension in the world corn market, as the report showed that the corn supply and carry-out are generally expected to be larger than most market participants were expecting. The following is the RFA's analysis of the report.

Posted in Agriculture, Corn prices, Ethanol, Production, USDA

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Understanding the 2011 Planting Outlook, Ethanol and Food Pricing

March 31, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual Prospective Plantings report this morning, showing U.S. farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn, 76.6 million acres of soybeans and 58 million acres of wheat this year. The following is an analysis of the USDA Prospective Plantings report from Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, Land Use, Production

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More Psuedo-Science and the Preposterous Claims of Anti-Ethanol Activists

March 29, 2011

A new pseudo-analysis published by the controversial and discredited Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons claims that biofuels expansion is increasing hunger and poverty-related health risks in developing nations. The four-page article was written by Indur Goklany, a long-time biofuels critic and contributor to the Cato Institute. Based on an ill-conceived and opaque method that misinterprets and misrepresents the findings of the World Bank and other researchers, the paper is nothing more than anti-farmer and anti-biofuel vitriol cloaked as real analysis. It simply can’t be taken seriously and it’s not at all surprising that the only publication that would ever consider publishing this piece would be the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Posted in Agriculture, Education, Ethanol, Food, Research

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Ethanol Exports Continue to Surge; Anti-Dumping Investigation Reduces DDGS Exports to China

March 10, 2011

The new year began with a bang for U.S. ethanol exports, according to government data released today. Ethanol shipments (consisting of both denatured and undenatured, non-beverage, ethanol) totaled 57.2 million gallons in January, marking the second highest monthly total on record. At 714,000 metric tons, January exports of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) were virtually identical to December 2010 levels (713,600 metric tons). Exports to China—the leading export market in 2010—fell by 30% in January, likely as the result of China’s DDGS anti-dumping investigation.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports, Fuel

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A Small Slice from an Extra Large (And Getting Larger) Pizza

March 08, 2011

In an attempt to inject some sanity and facts into the recently rekindled “food versus fuel” fervor, RFA has repeatedly highlighted the fact that in 2010/11, the U.S. ethanol industry will use just 3 percent of the global grain supply on a net basis. It just isn’t reasonable to suggest that using such a small slice of the global grain supply could be solely responsible for the recent surge in food prices—especially when the U.S. industry uses nary a bushel of food grains like rice or wheat. Nevertheless, some opponents of biofuels have challenged the legitimacy of our 3 percent figure. But we have nothing to hide. It’s really a straightforward calculation, replicable by anyone with access to USDA data, a pencil and the back of an envelope.

Posted in Ethanol, Production, Research

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2010 Ethanol and DDGS Exports Shatter Previous Records

February 11, 2011

According to government data released today, 2010 was a record-breaking year for exports of ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

Posted in Ethanol, Exports

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What USDA WASDE Report Really Means for Ethanol, Corn

February 09, 2011

The USDA has released its February estimates of U.S. and global grain supplies. Some revisions, all of which were expected, slightly reduce USDA's estimates of leftover corn at the end of the marketing year. Let the wild claims and "alarm bells" ring from ethanol's detractors begin.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, Land Use, Renewable Fuel Standard, Renewable Fuels, USDA

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RFA Analysis of EPA’s “Preliminary” Triennial Report on Biofuels and the Environment to Congress

February 01, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released their “preliminary” triennial Congress report on January 19th. The report does not offer any original research; rather, it summarizes and analyzes the results of previous studies. It also admittedly lacks the proper context to compare the attributes of biofuels to petroleum fuels and other energy options. The RFA has analyzed the draft report and has provided initial comments.

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November Ethanol and Distillers Grains Exports

January 13, 2011

Total U.S. exports of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol reached 38.9 million gallons in November, up 11% from October. The November totals were the third-highest in 2010. Between January and November 2010, U.S. ethanol exports totaled 324.9 million gallons, nearly a three-fold increase over 2009 total exports. Through November, the industry was on pace to export more than 350 million gallons in 2010.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports

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Ethanol, Corn Supply, and Those Who Cry Wolf

January 13, 2011

The final USDA report on the size of the 2010 corn crop and subsequent supply is out. Not surprisingly, USDA has adjusted its final estimates to reflect increased ethanol demand, the importance of distillers grains and other feed coproducts, and the difficult growing season American farmers endured. Right on cue, prolific End of Days prognosticators like Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute are pointing the finger of blame at ethanol for lower than expected corn supplies. But, as is always the case, there are far more factors that must be considered.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, USDA

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October Ethanol and DDG Exports

December 10, 2010

October was another strong month for U.S. ethanol exports, according to government data released today. October shipments of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 34.9 million gallons, down 9.9% from September.

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If a Tree Doesn’t Fall in the Forest, Will ENGOs and Regulators Notice?

December 01, 2010

Environmental lawyer Timothy Searchinger’s ILUC hypothesis, already reeling, took another crippling blow today when Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen to its lowest rate since the government began collecting data in 1988. Data from the Brazilian government clearly show that Amazon deforestation rates in Brazil have been plunging for the last seven years, and the 2010 rate is less than one-quarter of the rate experienced in 2004 when deforestation reached more than 10,700 square miles. All of this has occurred while U.S. biofuels production has increased dramatically (nearly 300% since 2004), proving once again that there is no correlation between U.S. ethanol output and deforestation. Will the ENGOs and regulators notice?

Posted in Brazil, Environment, Ethanol, Land Use, Production

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September Ethanol Exports Shoot Past August

November 10, 2010

U.S. ethanol producers exported 38.8 million gallons of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) in September, up 31% from August, according to government data released today. This is the third highest monthly export total of the year, trailing only March and April. Year-to-date ethanol exports now stand at 251.1 million gallons, meaning the industry is on pace to export some 330 million gallons in 2010.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports, Production

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Making Mountains Out of Molehills

November 08, 2010

Last week, NRDC’s Nathanael Greene noted my frustration with his organization’s hasty dismissal of new Department of Energy research that shows “…minimal to zero indirect land use change was induced by use of corn for ethanol over the last decade.” NRDC immediately attempted to trash the DOE work, which was conducted by seasoned scientists at the agency’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Nathanael went so far as to suggest it “tells us nothing about ILUC.” It’s interesting that NRDC could reach such a conclusion without actually ever having seen the study (it hasn’t been published yet), without ever having laid eyes on the raw data underlying the analysis, or without ever having experimented with the methodology that ORNL used.

Posted in Environment, Ethanol, Land Use, Research, U.S Dept. of Energy

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Ethanol and Gasoline Prices

October 26, 2010

Ethanol prices have strengthened over the past several months in response to higher corn prices and growing ethanol demand. Some have attempted to single out the escalation in ethanol prices as a primary driver of the slight increase in retail gasoline prices. Yet, a quick look at the data shows retail gasoline prices and ethanol spot prices are not well correlated, even when lagged to account for the fact that it may take some time for ethanol price increases to work through to the retail level.

Posted in Ethanol, Fuel

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ILUC: Real World Results Vs. Economic Theory

October 20, 2010

Since a polemic paper from environmental attorney Tim Searchinger was released in February 2008, a false notion that American ethanol production from grain was leading to Brazilian rainforest destruction has permeated discussions around ethanol's environmental contributions. Now, a team of researchers from the Department of Energy have analyzed real world data from the period of greatest American ethanol expansion and found this notion to be without merit.

Posted in Agriculture, Brazil, Environment, Ethanol, Land Use, Renewable Fuels, Research, U.S Dept. of Energy

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As Before, “Food vs Fuel” Arguments Strike Out

October 14, 2010

Last Friday’s USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports, which slashed estimates for the 2010 corn crop and average yield, sent the anti-biofuels crowd scurrying to find their trusty “Food vs. Fuel” playbooks. The alarmist rhetoric over the past several days seems virtually cut and pasted from the raft of doomsday press releases and manufactured “studies” that cluttered the media channels in 2008 when record oil prices and rampant speculation pushed grain prices to unprecedented levels and food prices to the highest levels in recent memory. For opponents of ethanol and beneficiaries of cheap corn, pointing the finger at biofuels has become the reflexive knee-jerk response any time grain prices start to rise.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, Production, USDA

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August Ethanol Exports up 18% from July

October 14, 2010

U.S. biofuel producers exported 29.6 million gallons of ethanol (both denatured and undenatured, non-beverage alcohol) in August, up 18% from July, according to government data released today. Year-to-date ethanol exports stand at 212 million gallons, nearly double the amount of total exports in 2009. Total exports in August were the third highest of the year, trailing only March and April. The U.S. remains on pace to export more than 300 million gallons of ethanol in 2010, equivalent to roughly 2.5% of expected domestic production.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports

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E15 Scenarios

October 05, 2010

EPA is poised to make a decision on E15, but appears set upon a bifurcated market and partial waiver approach. By only approving E15 for 2007 and new vehicles, EPA is once again artificially limiting the U.S. ethanol market without providing any scientific justification. What does it all mean? How many new ethanol gallons will be sold? These are important questions and the answers are not at all clear.

Posted in E15, EPA, Ethanol, Fuel

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Record Corn Crop….Record Speculation

September 08, 2010

While most Americans got a head start to the long Labor Day weekend by knocking off early Friday, corn futures traders had their most active day in 133 years. According to Drover’s, a record 556,034 corn futures contracts (the equivalent of 2.8 billion bushels of corn!) changed hands last Friday, marking the single busiest day in the corn markets since the Chicago Board of Trade began trading grain in 1877.

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They’re Baaack: Speculators Return to Grain Markets En Masse

September 01, 2010

Not since the commodity prices spikes of 2008 have speculators held such a prominent role in grain markets. But, as a review of the data demonstrates, the speculators are back in a big way and just waiting for the opportunity to artificially inflate corn and other commodity prices.

Posted in Agriculture, Ethanol, Research

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No Surprise Here - More Problems Emerge with RFS Greenhouse Gas Calculations

August 05, 2010

Despite the fact that real-world data and events have disputed the ILUC theory at every turn (e.g., grain and oilseed exports haven’t fallen off, soybean acreage hasn’t decreased, livestock feed use remains steady, Amazon deforestation is decreasing, etc., etc.), EPA’s final rule for the RFS2 institutes a severe ILUC penalty against corn ethanol and other biofuels. But there’s a major problem with how EPA derived its ILUC penalties: the agency based the penalties on modeling scenarios where each individual biofuel was isolated and volumes of that biofuel were increased while other biofuel volumes were held constant. Of course, that’s not how the RFS2 works—the regulation requires simultaneous increases of several types of biofuels. When EPA modeled a scenario in which all biofuels volumes were increased simultaneously in accordance with RFS2 requirements, the amount of land use change was half of what it was in the cases where EPA isolated individual biofuels. If EPA had used this modeling case to develop its LUC penalties, the hit to corn ethanol would have been 10.8 g CO2e/MJ, rather than EPA’s estimate of 28.4 g/MJ. Such a reduction in LUC emissions means overall lifecycle GHG emissions for 2022 average corn ethanol would be 38% less than baseline gasoline emissions, rather than the 21% estimate finalized by EPA.

Posted in Environment, EPA, Ethanol, Land Use, Renewable Fuel Standard, Research

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Protecting Our Addiction to Oil Comes at a Cost

July 19, 2010

For years now, we have heard environmentalists and some in the government tell us that gasoline production and oil use don't have indirect greenhouse gas emissions. It is only biofuels like ethanol, we have been told, that must suffer penalties for these so-called indirect emissions. According the a new groundbreaking report to be published in Environmental Science, requiring our military to protect the free flow of oil comes with environmental consequences. And those impacts are potentially HUGE.

Posted in Environment, EPA, Ethanol, Land Use, Renewable Fuels, Research

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CBO, Ethanol, and the Rest of the Story

July 16, 2010

This week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report critical of ethanol tax incentives, but devoid of any comparisons to other energy tax incentives (like those for Big Oil). The report relied on what were, in large part, worst-case assumptions and also failed to give credit for co-products now an undeniable component of the industry that must be taken into account. After a thorough review, we have come up with some of key takeaways and criticisms of the report.

Posted in Environment, Ethanol, Renewable Fuel Standard, Renewable Fuels, VEETC

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Ethanol Exports Update for May

July 14, 2010

Total ethanol exports for May fell 58% from April’s totals. Compared to March and April total exports of 48.3 million gallons and 40.8 million gallons, U.S. producers exported only 17.1 million gallons in the month of May. Still, May exports were well above the five-year monthly average. Further, through the first five months of 2010, the U.S. has exported 25% more product than in the entire 2009 calendar year.

Posted in Ethanol, Exports, Research

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RFA Comments on USDA WASDE Report

July 09, 2010

This morning USDA’s July WASDE report was released. While it made some changes to the corn supply-demand estimates, it is likely that supply will get a boost with a larger yield estimate likely next month. This morning's report suggests corn producers are still on track for a record crop in 2010. If the corn crop can avoid significant stress during pollination, we should be looking at another record or near-record average yield. But harvest is still several months away and nothing is certain until the crop is in the bins. Read more to see key facts related to today's report.

Posted in Ethanol, Research, USDA

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UNICA’s sweeteralternative.com: A wolf in blog’s clothing

July 09, 2010

Every week or so, Joel Velasco of UNICA posts a new entry to UNICA's new Sweeter Alternative “blog”. This "blog" appears to more of a non-blog as readers don’t have any opportunity to express their views or respond to the slanted opinions served up by UNICA. In a June 28 post, RFA was accused of "cherry picking" data for a recent presentation to the House Ag Committee that shows Brazil’s increased ethanol output over the past decade has come primarily through expansion of the land area dedicated to growing sugarcane. Since there’s no opportunity for the public to comment on UNICA’s web site, I will address the "cherry picking" allegations here.

Posted in Brazil, Ethanol, Land Use, Research

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Get the Facts on Ethanol, Corn Production and Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico

July 08, 2010

Opponents of biofuels and agriculture are again dredging up false allegations about the environmental impacts of increasing grain and ethanol production, specifially suggesting that expanded grain and ethanol production in the Midwest is leading to a larger hypoxic area, ("dead zone") in the Gulf of Mexico. The RFA has put together a document discussing the facts regarding these issues.

Posted in Dead Zone, Ethanol, Hypoxia, Research, Water

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Less Energy, Less Water, More Ethanol…

July 05, 2010

…is the trend in American ethanol production. In recently released research from Dr. Steffen Mueller from the University of Illinois at Chicago, production of ethanol at the nation’s dry mills has seen dramatic improvements in efficiencies.

Posted in Energy, Ethanol, Research, Water

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