All this Win-Win talk from the Administration and the EPA
Posted Tom Blazek on 04/10/2018
Commentary from Tom Blazek - a first time attendee of ACE's 10th annual Washington, D.C. fly-in March 21-22 from Lake Charles, Louisiana - on the actions and talk concerning the ethanol industry and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) following the fly-in.
To me, it appears when the ethanol industry wants something, there must be some kind of "win-win" with the oil industry to keep them whole, per the Administration's thinking. Forget about clean air and the environment!
But when the oil industry wants something, well, there's no talk then of the need for a win-win solution with the ethanol industry. Case in point, Andeavor’s refining Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) waivers. Andeavor supposedly owns over 3,000 gas stations — I guess we can't expect them to be able to blend ethanol, or move RINs around within their company.
It’s hard to stay positive and not get frustrated but somehow, we have got to do just that, and keep working on our goals.
Here's a quote from an OPIS Blog on Biofuels Industry and Regulatory Policies in 2018:
"The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) since its start has been marked by conflict between biofuels industry advocates intent on pushing more renewable fuel into the U.S. transportation market and a petroleum industry intent on protecting its market share.”
Well there it is in black and white, "protecting its market share,” who would have ever guessed!
This is where the battle line really is. I think we as an industry need to do everything we can to grab market share from the oil industry. We need every ethanol plant to get involved in this at their locations. What Ron Lamberty (ACE Senior Vice President) and others are doing is spot on. We need to be smart and use every advantage we have, we need to offer a better fuel at a better price! Every E15, E30 and E85 pump is indeed a victory against an oil industry that wants us gone from the market place.
I wonder if every farmer in the Midwest wrote the President and asked him why we can't have E15 blends this summer, if it would do any good.
The same OPIS Blog highlighted all the biofuel victories in 2017, and there were quite a few. Somehow, we must keep winning in 2018.
Recently, an additional 15 percent tariff was tacked on U.S. ethanol exports to China, bringing them to 45 percent plus a 17 percent VAT tax? Now, a waiver for a $1.5 billion profiting oil company. Can’t wait for tomorrow.
Our fight with the oil industry to blend ethanol under the RFS is kind of like pushing a rope. They don't want us under their canopy. So, if we can't "push" them to sell ethanol with the RFS, we will have to "pull" them to do it through consumer demand. That's the beauty of E15 and E30 blends. They are consumer choice fuels.
If we can offer the consumer something better at the pump, a better fuel at a better price, then we can beat big oil at their own game. By shifting market share to retailers who dare to sell elevated blends of ethanol, we will eventually be able to "pull" the oil industry into selling ethanol.
One of our best weapons we have against big oil is at the pump.
It’s a tough battle but we can win if we all work at it.