Market Access to Make a Permanent Difference

By Tom Buis | January 14, 2011

Last summer, Growth Energy proposed an overhaul in federal energy policy that would dismantle the hurdles that prevent America’s ethanol producers from fair access to an open, competitive transportation fuels market.

The Fueling Freedom Proposal is a market-based solution which would permanently eliminate the blend wall and give consumers genuine choice at the fuel pump. Our proposal would gradually redirect the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit—a support that initially helped the ethanol industry grow—to help construct an alternative fuels infrastructure. We believe that if we can put 200,000 blender pumps in the ground and put 120 million flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) on the road, we could finally see the kind of market access that would make a permanent difference to our industry and to the American motorist.

But, we know this investment won’t happen overnight.  In the near-term, the one-year extension of the ethanol tax incentive that was adopted in the so-called lame duck Congress will give us the opportunity to work with lawmakers and the administration to carry out this proposal.

There is broad and deep support for energy policy that creates jobs in American industries such as ethanol, and officials within the administration have signaled support for Growth Energy’s Fueling Freedom plan. Last October, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced an initiative to encourage installation of up to 10,000 blender pumps. This is a very positive step. There are more than 170,000 fueling stations in the United States and with Fueling Freedom we can put a blender pump in every one of those stations to give consumers real choice.

The Fueling Freedom plan makes sense. If every car or pickup in the U.S. were flex fuel, and nearly every fueling station had blender pumps, then we as Americans would have a genuine choice in the marketplace. We could choose gasoline if the price were right. Or we could choose ethanol, because we want cleaner air, or want to keep our money here in America, or bring our soldiers back from the Middle East.

Each gallon of clean-burning domestic ethanol means less reliance on foreign oil—making our nation stronger, more economically secure and environmentally friendlier for our children and grandchildren.  And, even more importantly, when we produce ethanol in the United States, we’re also producing jobs in this country that cannot be outsourced.

Every administration over the past three decades has promised to make our country energy independent. We have energy policies in place that aim to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through alternative fuels—but we lack the infrastructure to deliver that fuel to the consumer. Through the Fueling Freedom program, we can build out that infrastructure to give Americans the cleaner, greener choice they deserve to help reduce our dependence on dirty, imported oil.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy
(202)545-4000
tbuis@growthenergy.org