Accelerating Demand

The American Coalition for Ethanol is ready to execute on Accelerate, a roadmap for sparking new demand for ethanol. The plan is built around implementing new clean fuel policies, protecting what already exists and growing ethanol markets globally.
By Brian Jennings | December 22, 2020

As we turn the page on a year none of us will ever forget, even though most of us would like to, there is promising news on the COVID-19 vaccine front and a former vice president, Joe Biden, will soon be inaugurated the 46th president of the United States. The 2020 election revealed how bitterly divided America remains, meaning President Biden will be operating with a U.S. Senate narrowly controlled by Republicans and a House of Representatives narrowly controlled by Democrats.

Most Americans say they prefer divided government. Indeed, a split Congress is a good thing for the ethanol industry because our opponents will have an impossibly hard time trying to repeal or reduce the RFS, and, extreme measures like the Green New Deal or a ban on internal combustion engines are highly unlikely to become law. Nevertheless, we should expect a Biden administration and many in Congress to aggressively pursue new policy ideas to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

As this climate change discussion picks up, rural America has an important decision to make. Are we going to engage or stand on the sidelines? In anticipation of this very moment, ACE has been doing spade work the last several years to get in the game and position increasing the use of corn ethanol as part of the climate solution.

So now, instead of being caught flat-footed, we will begin executing on a strategic plan we call Accelerate—ACE’s roadmap for sparking new demand for ethanol. Accelerate is built upon three pillars.

1. Increasing demand and value for ethanol through new clean-fuel policies.

2. Protecting and supporting existing policy-driven markets.

3. Developing domestic and international markets.

For the past two years, ACE has been partnering with the Great Plains Institute on clean-fuel policy ideas for Midwestern states. One year ago, we published a blueprint for how Midwestern states could design clean-fuel policy, and conducted an analysis indicating the quickest and lowest-cost way to meet the goals of a clean-fuel policy in a state like Minnesota or Iowa is through increasing the use of E15, E85 and mid-level blends. That is our primary motivation in the Accelerate plan: Drive higher blends into the market by putting a spotlight on how increasing the use of corn ethanol reduces GHG emissions and revitalizes the economy. Already, several states are seriously considering clean-fuel legislation, and ACE has elevated our engagement on this topic to Congress and the incoming Biden administration.

ACE was the first group to advocate for Congress to enact the RFS, and while it started out as a success, there is no debating the fact that EPA has sabotaged the program on behalf of refiners. We remain confident the RFS can still foster market growth and innovation, and ACE will be riding herd on the Biden EPA to comply the decision we won in the 10th Circuit Court last year to rein in the use of small refinery waivers and to get the RFS back on track. Our Accelerate plan includes both offensive and defensive approaches to protect the RFS and overcome regulatory barriers to higher ethanol blends.

Policy plays a very important role in helping secure market access for ethanol, but we know it is not the only tool in our toolbox. ACE’s market development program has the experience and expertise to equip the domestic and international supply chain with the information they need to make higher blends available in the retail marketplace. Our Accelerate plan will build upon this past success to further raise the ethanol intelligence quotient of fuel marketers in paving the way for wider availability of higher blends. This work will not be limited to the U.S. ACE was a key partner in fostering international markets, like Mexico. That blueprint for developing relationships with international fuel marketers can, and will, be replicated in other emerging markets.

Let us hope for the prospect of successful vaccines, people eventually getting back on the road, and returning to some semblance of normal in 2021. As the climate discussion picks up in Washington, D.C., and state capitals, ACE looks forward to working with you to accelerate demand for ethanol.

Author: Brian Jennings
American Coalition for Ethanol
[email protected]