Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More Corn for Food, Not Ethanol

UPDATE 5/30/2015 - The URL for the report has changed and now correctly links to the PDF.


A common mistake critics make concerning ethanol is their claim that more corn is used for ethanol than for animal or human food use.

And indeed, looking at raw numbers would show that ethanol consumes more.

 But the figures don't tell the full story.

And ethanol critics know better.

More than a third of the corn that's used in the ethanol process is returned as animal feed.

Dried Distillers Grains are an important co-product of the ethanol process.

Beef, pork, and poultry producers here in the US and around the world use DDGs as nutritious animal feed.

But can that be proven?

A new report from the USDA's Economic Research Service concludes that nearly 40 percent of the corn used for ethanol goes directly back into the feed supply as a high-protein animal feed.

The feed from ethanol production saves money for animal producers because it averages 80 percent cheaper than corn and can displace a greater amount of corn because of its nutritional value.

Source: Estimating the Substitution of Distillers’ Grains for Corn and Soybean Meal in the U.S. Feed Complex (PDF)


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Million NASCAR Miles on E15 American Ethanol

NASCAR announced this week that it has accumulated more than one million miles of driving this season in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series using Sunoco Green E15 as fuel. 

According to NASCAR:
The release of the report is particularly timely because this week, the Environmental Protection Agency, and environmental officials and Americans nationwide are celebrating National Pollution Prevention Week. According to the EPA, pollution prevention is the cornerstone of sustainability.  
 "Before NASCAR switched its fuel to Sunoco Green E15 at the start of the 2011 racing season, there was extensive analysis and deep consideration about the decision," said Mike Lynch, managing director of Green Innovation for NASCAR. "Successfully transitioning to the new fuel and surpassing a million miles, all on America's toughest proving ground, is a validation of Sunoco Green E15 as a high-performance racing fuel and is part of our overall effort to go green. 
NASCAR is proud to use this American-made product because it creates American jobs while also reducing harmful emissions." 

NASCAR's switch to the new fuel was borne out of a partnership with American Ethanol. Representing a wide array of ethanol supporters, from farmers to bio-engineering firms, American Ethanol was established by Growth Energy in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association and others.

Source: NASCAR


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Friday, June 24, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Senate Defeats Coburn Amendament To End Ethanol Tax Incentive

The US Senate today voted down, by a margin of 59 to 40, the Amendment by Senator Coburn that would have ended the ethanol tax incentive known as the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Incentive (VEETC).

In order to pass, the amendment needed 60 votes.

The tax incentive, paid to blenders of the ethanol, was established to build the infrastructure required to add this important transportation fuel into this country's fuel supply.

In addition, the amendment would have eliminated the trade tariff on foreign imports of ethanol.

VEETC was already set to expire at the end of this year.

Ethanol supporters have been working on alternatives to the existing credit and Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) recently introduced the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act legislation to create a variable credit when oil prices are low and to redirect efforts to build additional flex fuel pumps and vehicles.


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New Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act Introduced

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) along with a bipartisan group of senators have introduced the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act.

The senate bill modifies the current Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Incentive (VEETC) to a variable tax incentive tied to the price of oil.

Currently, the tax incentive goes to ethanol blenders at .45 per gallon.

Other co-sponsors include Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), John Hoeven (R-ND) Tim Johnson (D-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

The bill would also allocate funds saved through the updated ethanol tax incentive, to be used to expand fueling infrastructure through the vehicle of improved tax policies.

The legislation would reduce the federal deficit by $1 billion, end current ethanol subsidies on July 1, 2011, offer a three-year bridge safety net to protect ethanol jobs from oil price volatility, and enable large scale oil displacement through investing in infrastructure and advanced biofuels.

The bill would be an alternative to current ethanol tax credits due to expire at the end of this year.

The Senate will vote today on whether to proceed to a debate on a bill Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) bill to end the ethanol tax credits immediately.


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Sen. Coburn Seeks to Destroy American Ethanol

As reported by Politico and others, Senator Coburn (OK) introduced a motion last night to force a vote to eliminate immediately the blender tax credit.

The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, also known as VEETC, is a credit of .45 for every gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline.

It goes to the actual "blender" of the ethanol, not to corn growers and not to the ethanol plants that make ethanol.

This credit has helped the oil industry to build the infrastructure required to blend ethanol into the American fuel system.

The vote will come this Tuesday.

This surprise ambush tactic wasn't shared with the Senate's leadership:
Coburn didn’t inform either Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or Minority Leader Mitch McConnell before he made his move, appearing to catch both completely off guard.
It's not surprising that an oil-state senator would want to attempt to snuff out the only viable competition to oil.

But it is surprising to do it the same week that OPEC met and refused to increase production output.

Especially since Iran and Venezuela, no friends to the United States, led the charge for keeping production constant.

Of course they would.

Continued high gas prices hurts the US economy and every American.

Write or call Congress to let your thoughts be known.

Source: Politico


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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Renewable Energy Production Promotes America’s Security, Boosts Economy

Renewable energy production promotes America’s security and boosts the US economy.

That's the message shared from the United States Department of Agriculture.

In a blog published today by USDA's by Dallas Tonsager, Undersecretary, USDA Rural Development, he writes about his first-hand experience as a farmer in South Dakota: "I saw firsthand how the investments in biofuels benefited rural Americans by creating jobs and capturing wealth locally. Leaders in the community got together, made commitments to invest in renewable energy projects, and shared in the success of the projects once they matured."

He goes on to write:
"Renewable energy production is smart for our country both strategically and economically. As gas prices have gone up, we are reminded that oil supplies are fragile and that global events and speculation can have a large effect on the price. Whether it is tumult in the Middle East or hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, the long and complex supply chains for petroleum energy can be disrupted by a multitude of events."

Read the rest of the blog HERE.

Producing renewable energy here in America is a wise choice.  We're creating jobs, increasing energy security, and reducing our dependence upon foreign energy sources.

Source: USDA


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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Tale of Two Fuel Choice Approaches

World-renowned engineer and best-selling author Dr. Robert Zubrin has published a side-by-side review of the two bipartisan bills which been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

One is H.R. 1380, known as the “New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act,” or “NAT GAS Act” for short.

The other is H.R. 1687, the Open Fuel Standards Act.

The approaches adopted in these two pieces of legislation are very different and  Dr. Zubrin does a good job of highlighting their points:

"The NAT GAS Act, which is strongly supported by oil and gas tycoon T. Boone Pickens, would provide a $7,500 tax-credit subsidy for the purchase of natural-gas cars, as well as a further subsidy to their manufacturers of $4,000 each, for a total of $11,500 per car."

"...the Open Fuel Standard bill does not choose a single winner, and would not cost the treasury anything. Instead, it stipulates that within several years the majority of new cars sold in the U.S. must give the consumer fuel choice by being any one of the following: full flex fuel (i.e., capable of using methanol, ethanol, and gasoline), natural gas, plug-in hybrid, or biodiesel compatible"
Check out the full review HERE.

Source: National Review Online


Saturday, June 4, 2011

NASCAR Goes Green with American Ethanol

For the 2011 season and as part of its long-term commitment to "going green," NASCAR has embraced American Ethanol by using 15% ethanol for its high-performance race cars.

NASCAR has partnered with American Ethanol to bring the American-grown, clean burning, renewable ethanol to its races.
"NASCAR is committed to being an environmental leader, and the sport has taken significant steps over the years toward conservation by introducing measurable, best-in-class initiatives in recycling, alternative energy, and carbon mitigation," said Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR.

The E15 fuel will be provided by Sunoco.

"We're proud to be part of NASCAR's dedication to conservation with Sunoco Green E15 -- the ultimate high-test ethanol fuel blend. In our six years as official fuel partner, Sunoco has changed with the times by helping NASCAR transition to unleaded fuel, and now we are eager to produce for the sport a high-performance ethanol blend."
The Sunoco Green E15 will be blended at Sunoco's fuel facility in Marcus Hook, Pa. The American-grown and American-made corn ethanol will come in part from Sunoco's new ethanol plant in Fulton, N.Y. 

NASCAR has an informative video on their move to E15 fuel.

This week's race, the STP 400, will be at the Kansas Speedway and will be shown on the Fox network on June 5, at 1pm ET.


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    Monday, May 30, 2011

    Saudi Prince: "We Don't Want the West to Go and Find Alternatives"

    The fist rule of monopolies and parasites is to never kill your customer or your host.

    Apparently, high oil prices is bad for business.

    Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal told CNN yesterday that he wants oil prices to decrease so that the United States doesn't find alternatives to his country's supple of oil.
    "We don't want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives,"
    Well isn't that so nice of him and his country.  Let's keep the price of oil lower.  

    As in lower than "outrageous" and greater than the real market price due to OPEC's cartel.


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    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    Secretary Vilsack Highlights Efforts to Decrease U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil

    US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted last week the importance of moving toward a clean energy economy and breaking our country's unsustainable dependence on foreign oil.
    "Flex-fuel pumps give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels," Vilsack said. "The Obama Administration is working to transform the United States into a global clean energy leader because transportation fuels created from a wide variety of renewable energy sources will create a new generation of jobs here at home, reduce dependence on foreign oil and enhance our national security."

    This past April, Secretary Vilsack announced a series of initiatives to help farmers and rural small businesses implement renewable energy systems and become more energy efficient. One of those initiatives allows USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to now make funding available for flexible fuel pumps, sometimes referred to as "blender pumps." 

    This is expected to encourage fuel station owners to invest the capital necessary to give American motorists the option of selecting the blend of renewable fuel that meets their needs.

    The Obama administration has set a goal of installing 10,000 flexible fuel pumps nationwide within 5 years.

    Today, most gasoline sold in this country is a mix of 10 percent ethanol.

    Currently, there are 8 - 8.5 million flexible fuel vehicles on U.S. roads, constituting about 3.2 - 3.5 percent of the approximately 250 million vehicles on the road.

    These flexible fuel vehicles can be fueled with E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline).

    There are approximately 2,350 fueling stations that offer E85 of the more than 167,800 stations nationwide.

    Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the results of E15 testing on vehicles years 2001 and younger.

    EPA's findings confirm there are additional vehicles on the road able to take advantage of higher ethanol blends than currently available at local, non-E85, pumps.

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    Gov. Mitt Romney Declares His Support for Ethanol

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came out in a strong show of support of ethanol this week by publicly embracing ethanol subsidies.

    As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Romney:

    “I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told an Iowa voter. “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” 

    Romney made his ethanol-friendly statements while in Des Moines, Iowa.  Romney is a leading contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  And Iowa is the country's largest ethanol-producing state and an important first stop in the 2012 presidential primary race.

    Romney's announcement comes just a week after Romney's Republican contender, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, made his own statement that subsidies for ethanol should be phased out.

    So what is this "ethanol subsidy" that has the presidential contenders making these statements?

    The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, also known as VEETC, is a credit of $.45 for every gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline.  It was established to allow the oil industry to invest in the infrastructure to blend ethanol into the country's gasoline supply.  The credit goes to the actual "blender" of the ethanol, not to corn growers and not to the ethanol plants that make ethanol.

    God knows the oil industry wasn't going to do it without some financial encouragement from Congress.  The American Petroleum Institute remains a powerful opponent of alternative fuels like ethanol.

    The VEETC is currently funded by Congress until the end of 2011.  Congress is considering legislation that would modify the credit for future years to promote flex fuel vehicles and the installation of flex fuel pumps.

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    Friday, May 27, 2011

    We're Fueling Terrorism by Paying OPEC

    "We're Fueling Terrorism by Paying OPEC"

    That's what T. Boone Pickens told CNBC today.

    He went on to say that he was "trying to get away from the terrorists," and that "I think the money we pay to OPEC gets in the hands of the Taliban."



    But the sad fact remains that the United States is addicted to a foreign oil-based economy.

    Our oil addiction continues to fund hostile governments who sell us that oil.

    And the United States and its allies spend billions of dollars, and sacrifice our children's blood, to protect the fragile supply route of foreign oil.

    Something to think about as we remember our veterans this Memorial Day.

    Photo credit: David Shankbone

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    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    President Orders Federal Fleet to Use Alternative Fuels

    President Obama wants the federal fleet, the largest fleet of light duty vehicles in America, to use alternative fuels by 2015.

    In his Presidential Memorandum released Tuesday, he outlined his goal to  "reduce oil imports by one-third by 2025 and putting one million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015."
    "By December 31, 2015, all new light duty vehicles leased or purchased by agencies must be alternative fueled vehicles, such as hybrid or electric, compressed natural gas, or biofuel. Moreover, agency alternative fueled vehicles must, as soon as practicable, be located in proximity to fueling stations with available alternative fuels, and be operated on the alternative fuel for which the vehicle is designed. Where practicable, agencies should encourage development of commercial infrastructure for alternative fuel or provide flex fuel and alternative fuel pumps and charging stations at Federal fueling sites."
    This good news means that the Federal government will practice what it preaches by actually buying alternative fuel vehicles and ensuring that fueling stations are available.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Ethanol Lowers Fuel Prices!

    A new study shows that the use of American ethanol saved the average U.S. motorist about $800 last year.

    The study, by Iowa State University and University of Wisconsin, economists says that without ethanol, gasoline prices in U.S. would rise almost 92%.

    The impact of ethanol production on U.S. and Regional Gasoline Markets for the period 2000 to 2010 was evaluated by economists the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. The results of the study, released last week, show that blending ethanol with gasoline had a dramatic effect on lowering fuel costs.

    • The CARD study says that increased use of ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $0.89 per gallon in 2010.
    • Midwesterners benefited the most from ethanol because last year they saved $1.37 per gallon compared to the national average of $0.89.
    • The growth in ethanol production reduced gasoline prices by an average of $0.25, or 16% over the entire decade of 2000 - 2010.
    • Department of Energy data shows U.S. gasoline use averaged 138 billion gallons per year from 2000 to 2010, resulting in an annual average savings due to ethanol of $34.5 billion.
    • Last year alone, ethanol reduced the average American household's gasoline bill by more than $800, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.
    • Since ethanol now makes up nearly 10% of the gasoline used in automobiles in the U.S., CARD's economists measured the impact of ethanol's disappearance from the fuel market. If ethanol was no longer available, gas price increases would be of historic proportions, rising by as much as 92% in the short-term.

    Click HERE for the study, go to

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    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Corn Prices Higher Regardless of Ethanol

    To hear critics of corn ethanol spin it, the reason corn prices are high is because of that mean ol' nasty ethanol.

    But the facts and analysis from economists just don't support that skewed thinking.

    Corn prices would have done about the same thing with or without ethanol.

    That's the conclusion of a recently released report from the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD).

    The analysis by Bruce Babcock and Jacinto Fabiosa showed that general pattern of corn prices seen during 2006-2009—increasing prices in in 2006 and 2007, a price spike in 2008, followed by a sharp price decline in 2009—would have occurred without ethanol subsidies or even if corn ethanol production had not expanded.

    It also showed that investor speculation for corn ethanol in 2005, 2006, and 2007 would have occurred even without subsidies due to a combination of cheap corn, a phase-out of MTBE, and higher crude oil prices which made ethanol profitable. Thus, ethanol production would have expanded quite rapidly even without subsidies.
    Using the 2004 corn price of $2.06 per bushel as a reference, actual corn prices increased by an average of $1.65 per bushel from 2006 to 2009. Only 14 cents (8%) of this increase was due to ethanol subsidies. Another 45 cents of the increase was due to market-based expansion of the corn ethanol industry. Together, expansion of corn ethanol from subsidies and market forces accounted for 36% of the average increase that we saw in corn prices from 2006 to 2009. All other market factors accounted for 64% of the corn price increase.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    New Study on Indirect Land Use Change Clears Biofuels

    Michigan State University (MSU) released a new study this week that clears biofuels from Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) charges.

    The report conducted by MSU scientists Seungdo Kim and Bruce Dale says that biofuel production in the United States through 2007, “probably has not induced any indirect land use change.”

    This new reports sets the record straight from previous reports that maligned biofuels by using incomplete and faulty data.

    ILUC has been used as an argument for stopping biofuels development.  The theory goes that any acre used in the production of feedstocks for biofuels in the U.S. results in a new acre coming into food or feed production somewhere else in the world.

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    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Rising Gas Prices; America Held Hostage to Foreign Oil

    America continues to be held hostage to foreign oil.  And we are paying for it.  Literally.

    It's hitting everyone's pockets hard.  Rising gas prices continue to climb.  For anyone who has visited a gas pump recently, it's really no surprise.  Gas prices across the country often top $4 per gallon for regular unleaded.  And in some markets, $5 per gallon is the new "norm".

    But the pain doesn't just stop at the local Shell, Mobil or Texaco station.

    Higher gas prices, brought on by higher world oil prices, means these higher costs will be passed along to consumers in higher costs for everyday items like food and merchandise.

    And just very conveniently, Big Oil will show record profits.

    We're addicted to oil. Foreign oil.  Foreign oil that fuels the economies of countries and dictators more than happy to see the fall of American prestige and economic and military might.

    The death of Osama bin Laden, among other factors, fuels the fears that access to foreign oil will be stopped or curtailed.

    But it doesn't have to be that way.  America needs to continue to move to alternative fuels.  And ethanol is already playing its part for a renewable future for America.

    But more ethanol pumps are needed.  And more vehicles capable of using higher blends of ethanol (for example, up to 85% ethanol).

    In conjunction with other energy strategies, America can reduce its dependence upon hostile countries.

    But not if Big Oil has its way.

    Source: US Department of Energy

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    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    That's a Lot of Hamburgers.

    It really is Food AND Fuel for America and the world.

    An important point often overlooked in the war against corn ethanol is that 1/3 or the corn used for producing ethanol is returned as Dried Distillers Grains.

    Ethanol production requires only the starch portion of a corn kernel to produce the American-grown, renewable fuel. The remaining protein, fat, fiber, and other nutrients are returned to livestock feeders.

    A new report this week from the Renewable Fuels Association, Fueling a Nation; Feeding the World, shows that the US ethanol industry is providing an important and growing nutritious livestock feed for both domestic and international markets.

    According to the RFA report, America’s ethanol producers produced nearly 35 million metric tons (mmt) of livestock feed in the 2009/2010 marketing year.  That's a lot of corn that is being returned to the livestock market.

    According to the RFA, by volume, that production is greater than the total amount of grain consumed by all of the beef cattle in the nation’s feedlots.

    The RFA also pointed out some fun facts about how much corn this represents:

    For the current 2010/2011 marketing year, feed production from the ethanol industry is projected at 39 mmt.  
    - if the 39 mmt of livestock feed was a country’s corn crop, it would represent the 4th largest crop in the world 39 mmt of livestock feed would be enough feed to produce 50 billion quarter-pound hamburgers – seven patties for each person on the planet 
    - 39 mmt of livestock feed would be enough to produce one chicken breast for every American every day for a year
    American ethanol produces both Food AND Fuel.

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    Record Corn Crop for 2011 / 2012 Projected

    The USDA released its World Agricultural Demand and Supply Estimate report this week and the corn crop shows a projection for a record 13.5 billion bushel crop for 2011.
    Corn production for 2011/12 is projected at a record 13.5 billion bushels, up 1.1 billion from 2010/11 as a 4.0-million-acre increase in intended plantings and a recovery from last year’s weather-reduced yields boost expected output.
    World Agricultural Demand and Supply Estimates (WASDE), May 11, 2011 (PDF)

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    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Experts say energy, weather, unrest responsible for higher food costs

    An AP story this morning (appearing on the Washington Post website), was right on laying out the facts that rising energy costs, weather and unrest are more likely to cause food costs that farmers.

    “It’s a whole slew of things that have influenced that price,” said Chad Hart, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University. He ticked off some of them: “When you look at the cost of our food, it is related to the cost of corn, soybeans and wheat and cattle but also the cost of oil, gas, diesel and unrest in other parts of the world.”

    The folks at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) have already started their propaganda machine to lay the cost at the door of America's farmers while ignoring rising energy, marketing and profits.

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