The EPA will issue an emergency waiver allowing sales of E15 — gasoline that is 15 percent corn ethanol — this summer, announced President Biden on Tuesday, ahead of a trip to Iowa, the No. 1 corn- and ethanol-producing state. The step will save motorists up to 10 cents a gallon on surging gasoline prices and aid the rural economy, said the White House.
Due to the pandemic and limits on public gatherings, the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum will be held online in 2021, said the USDA on Wednesday. The data-filled event includes the first USDA estimate of the year of farm income and early projections of crop and livestock production.
Gasoline consumption fell precipitously in the spring due to stay-at-home orders and the economic slowdown, cutting ethanol industry revenue by more than $3.4 billion, said the Renewable Fuels Association on Wednesday. (No paywall)
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)
For the second week in a row, U.S. ethanol production ran at record lows because Americans are driving less during the coronavirus pandemic. (No paywall)
A Philadelphia oil refinery went bankrupt due to management decisions that backfired rather than the federal biofuels mandate, which requires refiners to blend ethanol and biodiesel into the gasoline and diesel supply, says a memo written by energy policy staffers working for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a bulldog defender of corn ethanol. The bankruptcy filing has been cited as a reason for changing the Renewable Fuel Standard, or biofuels mandate.
During a year of record U.S. ethanol production, exports of the biofuel totaled 1.05 billion gallons, second only to the record 1.19 billion gallons shipped to foreign buyers in 2011, said the Renewable Fuels Association. "Our industry produced 15.2 billion gallons of ethanol last year, and while we continue to meet our domestic needs, ethanol exports are essential for future growth,” said RFA chief executive Bob Dinneen.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican winner of Iowa's presidential caucuses, drew a larger share of the vote from rural counties than billionaire Donald Trump or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, reports the Daily Yonder.
An ethanol trade group says the EPA can open the door to year-round sales of E15 - a 15 percent blend of ethanol into gasoline - and the eventual use of even higher blends such as E20 or E25 if it would "eliminate an arcane regulatory barrier."
Joe Shultz is the new Democratic staff director on the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced ranking member Debbie Stabenow.
Months behind schedule, the EPA said it would set the biofuels share of the gasoline market well below the level specified by law because the fuel market is saturated with corn-based ethanol and second-generation biofuels are in scant supply. Farm groups and the ethanol industry said the agency was being short-sighted in its decision, and that the move would allow the oil industry to throttle a home-grown competitor. The American Petroleum Institute called for congressional repeal of the 2007 biofuels mandate.
The USDA said it will provide up to $100 million in matching funds for "state-led efforts to test and evaluate innovative and comprehensive approaches to market higher blends of renewable fuel, such as E15 and E85."
Portions of the Renewable Fuels Standard that effectively mandate the use of corn-based ethanol would be repealed under a bill introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Two of the top-ranking members of the House Agriculture Committee are among the four lead sponsors of a bill to eliminate the federal mandate for corn-based ethanol.
A convenience store chain in six mid-Atlantic states, Sheetz Convenience Stores, said it will offer E15 at 60 of its fuel stations in North Carolina by spring 2016.
With time running out to set the ethanol mandate for this year, EPA said it "is not in a position to finalize the 2014 RFS standards rule before the end of the year. Accordingly, we intend to take action on the 2014 standards rule in 2015 prior to or in conjunction with action on the 2015 standards rule." EPA proposed a relaxation in the 2014 mandate nearly a year ago, saying the gasoline market was nearly saturated with biofuels at the traditional blend rate of 10 percent, partly because fuel usage is lower than expected.