Looking to 2013

By Tom Buis | November 05, 2012

This past year was a challenging one for the ethanol industry, but due to the resilience of the family farmer and the producers and supporters of ethanol, our industry remains strong. We are poised to continue to deliver measurable results, producing renewable fuels to help meet our nation’s energy needs. Our work is far from over.

This fall, Growth Energy joined the Fuels America coalition to defend the RFS and promote the benefits of renewable fuels. The facts cannot be denied—the RFS is the most successful energy policy of the past 40 years, sharply decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and creating more than 400,000 well-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced. Not to mention it is better for our environment, drives investment in next-generation biofuels and provides consumers choice and savings at the pump.

With Fuels America, Growth Energy has expanded its efforts to educate policy-makers to ensure biofuel benefits are understood and the misinformation that our critics use is discredited. This is not an easy task, but we have made significant progress with the number of groups participating. We need everyone—producers, farmers, stakeholders and every supporter of ethanol—to join in this effort to defend and protect the RFS.

One of the most important facts to point out is that only 17 percent of corn acres are used to produce ethanol. Yes, 40 percent is delivered to ethanol plants, but that is a gross number, not a net number—similar to salary versus actual take home pay. The 17 percent is the net usage, as only the starch is converted, while all the protein, fiber and oils are left to produce a high-value, less-expensive and protein-rich animal feed. We must aggressively respond to these false claims as a united industry while also proactively work to educate not only the media, but the lawmakers that represent you and your facilities.

Similarly, our critics’ continue to use the same old and disproven argument of food versus fuel. Unfortunately, family farmers suffered the most severe drought in the past 50 years and ethanol critics immediately put the blame on ethanol for increased global hunger and rising food prices. The simple fact is that ethanol production did not cause a rise in commodity prices, Mother Nature did. There is no government solution to this problem. American famers and the ethanol industry have answered the call of global grain demand by increasing corn plantings. If it were not for the demand from ethanol, farmers would not have planted the record number of acres as they did. The best solution to end world hunger is increased production, and ethanol is a major driving force behind that.

Educating policymakers is a top priority for Growth Energy and Fuels America, and our relentless fight to defend the RFS is far from over. Additionally, we will continue to work to open the marketplace to higher blends of ethanol, allowing drivers to “put a little more America,” in their tanks with homegrown, renewable American Ethanol. In particular, Growth Energy will continue to advocate for increased infrastructure through incentivizing flex pumps through the alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Incentive.

E15 and higher blends have a promising future. Just this fall, NASCAR and American Ethanol reached a milestone, running three million miles on E15, showing only increased horsepower and extreme durability in demanding driving conditions—3 million miles and not a single engine problem. Critics of E15 have absolutely no ground to stand on. American Ethanol’s partnership has educated consumers on the importance, reliability and benefits of E15.

As we enter 2013, Growth Energy looks forward to working with returning and new policymakers to ensure that our industry is accurately represented to lawmakers and continue our unwavering commitment to the RFS and bringing higher blends of ethanol to the consumer—providing choice and savings, creating jobs here in America that cannot be outsourced and reducing our dependence on foreign oil from the most unstable regions of the world, all while improving our environment.

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