The EPA should rewrite the Renewable Fuel Standard to give corn ethanol a larger share of the gasoline market in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks quickly, said the head of the Renewable Fuels Association on Tuesday. "As the only existing federal law on the books today that requires the use of lower-carbon renewable fuels, the RFS should continue to serve as the bedrock for our nation's decarbonization efforts," said Geoff Cooper, RFA chief executive.
Verbio North America says it will more than double the capacity of its plant in central Iowa to produce renewable natural gas from corn stover, and it plans to begin production of corn ethanol in the final months of the year. The facility was the first of three plants in the nation to return to biofuel production after faltering as a producer of cellulosic ethanol, made from grasses, woody plants and crop residue.
While many Republicans were swamped by the Watergate tide, Republican Chuck Grassley won election to the House in 1974 and will surpass half a century in Congress if elected to his eighth Senate term in 2022. Grassley announced for re-election on Friday and is regarded as the heavy favorite by political handicappers.
With the Biden administration and the major U.S. automakers investing heavily in electric vehicles, rural Americans — especially those connected to farming — are concerned about the future of biofuels. Given that ethanol, primarily made from corn, is blended with the gasoline that powers the vast majority of the nation’s vehicles, the prospect of replacing gasoline with electricity has enormous implications for the rural economy. In 2019, the global biofuels market amounted to over $136 billion.(No paywall)
U.S. ethanol production plunged 13 percent last year due to the pandemic, costing the industry around $4 billion in sales. But it may recover fully by 2023, on the strength of larger exports and rising domestic use of higher blends of ethanol into gasoline, said the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
President Trump "sold out ethanol to Big Oil" by handing out dozens of exemptions from the ethanol mandate, said Iowa farmer Pam Johnson, speaking for the Biden campaign, during a discussion of the agricultural platforms of the presidential candidates on Tuesday. "We haven't abandoned the RFS and we aren't going to — ever," retorted Trump representative Sam Clovis.
With an eye toward shoring up Farm Belt support less than two months before the election, President Trump directed the EPA to deny dozens of oil refiner requests for retroactive waivers from U.S. biofuel laws, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Ethanol production fell to record lows during April due to the coronavirus but is showing modest signs of recovery, said Geoff Cooper, chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association. "It seems that the worst may be behind us," Cooper said during a teleconference.(No paywall)
Grants totaling $100 million will be available to install or retrofit fuel pumps and storage tanks to handle higher blends of corn ethanol and biodiesel than now commonly offered, said the USDA, with details to be available by mid-spring. "USDA will continue to do its part to encourage the use of home-grown energy," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
China, Brazil and the United States will help drive a dramatic global increase in ethanol consumption in the next 10 years, said a U.S. Grains Council analyst on Monday. However, the Sino-U.S. trade war will blunt the opportunity for ethanol from the United States, the world’s largest exporter, …
The Trump administration responded to months of Farm Belt complaints that it was undermining homegrown biofuels by vowing to increase the ethanol mandate, beginning next year, above the 15-billion-gallon-a-year target that is set by law. Officials did not specify a new figure for corn ethanol usage nor did its package include the oil industry's goal of a cap on the price of credits that refiners must buy if they do not mix enough ethanol into gasoline.
The Trump administration proposed a Renewable Fuel Standard of 20.04 billion gallons for 2020, meaning no change in corn ethanol's share of the gasoline market for cars and light trucks, while the share of that market going to cleaner-burning cellulosic ethanol, made from grass and woody plants, will increase by 120 million gallons. Farm groups and biofuel makers, who opened the summer with a celebration that higher-blend E15 was approved for year-round sale, said the EPA bowed to Big Oil.
President Trump, who campaigned for the White House as a friend of corn ethanol, said on Thursday that the administration is “very close” to approving year-round sales of a 15 percent blend of ethanol into gasoline. “We’re taking care of your ethanol,” said Trump during a trip to Iowa, the top corn-growing and ethanol-producing state.
Administration officials will hold their first White House meeting in a month on the Renewable Fuel Standard, as ethanol makers and corn growers fear an attack on the ethanol mandate. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said if the White House weakens the RFS, it "will be viewed as nothing less than a declaration of war on rural America and a complete abdication of [President Trump's] repeated promises to protect the RFS."
Five corn-state senators want to meet President Trump face to face to warn him against the oil industry's proposal of a cap on the price of RINs, the credits that refiners must buy if they don't blend enough ethanol into gasoline. Oil-state senators, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, say the cap is needed to preserve jobs at oil refineries; midwesterners say it would destroy the market for corn ethanol.
Oil-state Sen. Ted Cruz captured President Trump's attention two weeks ago with his dramatic proposal to ease the cost of the ethanol mandate on refiners: A price cap on RINs, the credits that refiners buy if they don't blend enough biofuel into gasoline. Farm groups and ethanol makers say Cruz's idea would be a disaster for them, and now some alternative ideas are getting a hearing.
The White House is taking a break from biofuels policy, at least temporarily, after two meetings with President Trump at the table failed to find consensus between the oil and ethanol industries. The only agreement, according to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was part of both meetings, "was to look at economic studies" about the impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard and possible changes.
Corn ethanol represents the first generation of biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol, made from grass, woody plants, and crop debris, was supposed to be the second generation.