Conveying What's at Stake, From the Ground Up

By Brian Jennings | November 05, 2012

As we prepare for 2013, the American Coalition for Ethanol will build upon the success we had this year in mobilizing grassroots support for ethanol, developing the E15 market and collaborating with automakers to pave the way for higher ethanol blends to provide the octane they need in the future.

Without a doubt, the market challenges facing ethanol producers are real. The short corn crop will force rationing and pain on all end-use sectors in 2013. We need outlets to relieve the ethanol market imbalance, but the overall pool is getting smaller as fuel efficiency standards reduce U.S. gasoline use. While Ford and General Motors have okayed the use of E15 in their owner’s manuals for newer vehicles, E15 market penetration has a long way to go. Fortunately, the savings E15 offers compared to gasoline is a factor that helps motivate retailers to offer this new fuel to customers, and ACE is taking full advantage of this as we work to develop the E15 market.

The demand driver, which ensures E15 a place in the market and higher ethanol blends market certainty over the long run, is the renewable fuel standard (RFS). In many ways, the war over the fate of the RFS has just begun. Big Oil and other ethanol opponents are spending millions of dollars to reduce or repeal it in Congress and the courts.

That’s why ACE has been vigilant about drawing attention to the success of the RFS. It’s also why we’ve joined organizations and companies committed to protecting the RFS to help launch a counteroffensive called the Fuels America campaign. By uniting our resources in the Fuels America campaign, we aim to reset the national conversation about ethanol and show the strength and diversity of the biofuels industry. ACE is proud to join this advertising and public relations campaign, which is already making a positive difference.

Supporting the Fuels America campaign is just one of many steps ACE is taking to help secure the future of the RFS and mobilize grassroots support for ethanol. During the RFS waiver comment period, ACE launched a digital RFS Action Center, which coordinated more than 130 unique, grassroots comments from 15 states in opposition to the waiver. We also specifically drove livestock producers to write EPA about how they benefit from the availability of distillers grains. And prior to the election, ACE led a Twitter-based targeting of political candidates in support of the RFS.

We’ve also announced a public letter-writing campaign to isolate media outlets that have published or broadcast inaccuracies about ethanol, and to tell them we won't stand by while our industry is unjustly attacked. Our campaign slogan is provocative—Give Ethanol Critics the Finger— but before you get offended, please know that by “finger” we mean your typing finger. You can help set the record straight when you hit the “enter” key on your computer to send a letter to misinformed newspapers and other media. While the primary focus of the letter-writing campaign, which runs through the end of the year, will be the RFS, other topics will be covered, including consumer fuel choice, E15 and midlevel blends, job creation, energy security and food and fuel.

Grassroots supporters are in a unique position to tell personal stories that humanize the benefits of our industry. That means real people like you can effectively help convey from the ground up what is at stake if opponents succeed in repealing the RFS. We encourage readers to take part in ACE’s effort to tell stories about how the RFS and ethanol benefits your communities and economies. The letter-writing campaign and our overall war to protect the RFS will succeed only if people get involved and take action.

Author: Brian Jennings
Executive Vice President,
American Coalition for Ethanol
[email protected]