B20 Makes Big Splash in Minnesota

Domestic Fuel - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 06:20

MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar is first in line for B20 biodiesel

Minnesota made history May 1, becoming the first state to transform virtually all of the diesel supply for sale in the state to B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel.

“We often refer to Minnesota as a ‘trailblazer,’ but somehow that just doesn’t seem adequate anymore,” said National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Upgrading virtually an entire state’s diesel to contain 20 percent biodiesel represents a seismic shift in our country’s liquid energy supply.”

NBB presented its Eye on Biodiesel Impact award this year to Mike Youngerberg, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council and has been working since 1986 to advance soybean industry priorities as a staff member for Minnesota Soybean.

“We’ve had bipartisan support for the effort,” said Youngerberg in an interview at the National Biodiesel Conference earlier this year. He says the advancement of biodiesel in the state has been called the “Minnesota Miracle.”

Listen to the award presentation and Mike’s remarks: Mike Youngerberg award

Learn more about Mike in this interview: Mike Youngerberg interview

RFA: Ethanol Saves Consumers at the Pump

Domestic Fuel - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 05:52

After a long, cold winter many families are ready to hit the road and go somewhere warm and fun for summer vacation, but the Energy Information Administration is already warning drivers that they are likely to see the highest gasoline prices in four years. The good news is that ethanol is helping to offset higher prices at the pump, according to a new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Pump prices have already begun to increase, with the average retail price for regular gasoline reaching $2.85/gallon last week, the highest since November 2014. However, the RFA analysis says 10% ethanol blends (E10) alone could save consumers at least $39 billion this year. The analysis of wholesale gasoline and ethanol price data shows that blending E10 has reduced wholesale gasoline prices by at least 27 cents per gallon, or 14%, compared to ethanol-free gasoline (E0).

The cost savings to consumers would be even greater if E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) were used in approved vehicles nationwide in place of E10, the analysis found. Specifically, the savings would be at least 34 cents per gallon, or 17%, for E15 consumers. Using E15 in approved vehicles would help consumers across the country save approximately $45 billion on gasoline, or $386 per household.

A group of senators this week asked President Trump to authorize sales of E15 this summer, starting June 1. Currently, consumers who are blocked from accessing E15 for three months of the year are unnecessarily spending at least an extra 7 cents per gallon on gasoline. Nationally, that translates to $6 billion, or approximately $80 per household.

Read the analysis here.

ADM: Current blending economics for ethanol favorable

Ethanol Producer - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 15:59
On May 1, Archer Daniels Midland Co. released first quarter 2018 financial results, reporting that earnings for the company’s bioproducts segment were down when compared to the same period of last year due to weak ethanol margins.

Valero reports improved Q1 earnings for ethanol segment

Ethanol Producer - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 15:57
Valero Energy Corp. released first quarter 2018 financial results on April 26. The company reported $45 million of operating income for its ethanol segment, up from $22 million during the same three-month period of 2017.

RFA: Ethanol saves consumers money at the pump

Ethanol Producer - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 15:55
Ethanol is helping to offset higher gasoline prices, and 10 percent ethanol blends (E10) alone could save consumers at least $39 billion this year, according to an analysis released today by the Renewable Fuels Association.

Biofuels key to success of Canada’s Clean Fuel Standard

Ethanol Producer - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 15:53
Canada’s two largest biofuels stakeholders—Renewable Industries Canada and Advanced Biofuels Canada—released the results of a new study April 30 on the economic impact of Canada’s upcoming Clean Fuel Standard.

May is Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska

Domestic Fuel - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 10:50

Nebraska drivers are being encouraged to get their motors running with savings on biofuels every Friday in May at retailers in three major cities to celebrate Renewable Fuels Month in the state.

Select retailers in Omaha, Grand Island and Bellevue are offering discounts on ethanol blends and one location is discounting biodiesel as well.

Renewable Fuels Month is coordinated through the Nebraska Ethanol Board, the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Soybean Board. Several promotional events are also being posted throughout the month on their social media platforms. Visit www.AmericanEthanolNE.org and www.BiodieselNE.com for more details.

Senators Push President for E-15 RVP Waiver

Domestic Fuel - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 06:08

With a growing number of “small refinery” exemptions being granted by EPA to not-so-small companies, a bipartisan group of senators is asking President Trump to allow 15% ethanol fuel (E-15) to be sold during the summer all over the country starting this year.

In a letter to the president Monday, 18 ethanol state senators made two specific requests. First, they ask that EPA provide an expected timeline for an administrative Reid Vapor Pressure or RVP waiver. Second, they request the agency allow for the sale of E-15 during the upcoming summer driving season in the meantime.

“Lifting these barriers will create a new market for surplus crops, while strengthening our energy security and delivering a jolt to the rural economy,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We continue to be grateful to our champions in Congress for pushing the EPA to make good on the president’s commitment to year-round E15 sales.”

“It is unacceptable for EPA to drag its feet to allow E15 and higher ethanol use year-round while it makes time to rubber stamp so-called ‘hardship’ waivers enabling refiners to escape their legal responsibility to blend ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings.

A report from Reuters on Monday said that EPA granted a small refinery hardship exemption to CVR Energy, owned by billionaire and presidential advisor Carl Icahn.

Biodiesel #1 for Green Fleets

Domestic Fuel - Tue, 05/01/2018 - 05:42

And the survey says …. biodiesel is the top alternative fuel choice for fleet trucks.

According to the latest Fleet Purchasing Outlook study conducted by the NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry, 75 percent of fleet respondents planning to acquire trucks in 2018 anticipate maintaining or increasing use of diesel engine powered trucks, indicating that diesel is still the powertrain of choice among the majority of work truck fleets. Additionally, the survey indicated that biodiesel is now the most popular alternative fuel option on the market, followed by E85, CNG and Electric Hybrid. Survey data shows 18 percent of fleet participants use biodiesel now – up from 15 percent in 2017. And in terms of future alternative fuel interest, biodiesel also takes top honors, with more fleets planning to acquire or continue using biodiesel than any other alternative fuel option.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is featuring some of the latest industry advancements this week at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, California. On display will be a customized 2018 Freightliner Cascadia truck supplied by NBB member company Optimus Technologies® that can use B100 biodiesel, like the one that served as a backdrop for the National Biodiesel Conference stage.

Senators urge EPA to allow year-round E15 sales

Ethanol Producer - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 16:41
A group of senators sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt April 30 outlining the benefits of year-round E15 sales. The letter follows remarks made by President Donald Trump on April 12 in support of a year-round waiver for E15.

Biofuel industry criticizes EPA handout to Icahn

Ethanol Producer - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 16:38
Supporters of the biofuels industry are speaking out to condemn reports that the U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt granted an undisclosed small refiner “hardship” waiver to a refinery owned by billionaire Carl Icahn.

EIA: Subsidies for renewables down as tax credits diminish

Ethanol Producer - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 16:35
Federal subsidies for renewable energy—including biofuels for transportation use and renewable generation of electricity—dropped to $6.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2016, a 56 percent decline from FY 2013.

Report Says Icahn Refinery Received RFS Waiver

Domestic Fuel - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 10:05

Reuters published an exclusive report today citing two anonymous sources who claim EPA granted a small refinery hardship exemption to CVR Energy, owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, the power behind last year’s attempt to dilute the Renewable Fuel Standard by changing the point of obligation.

CVR Energy just released its 1st quarter earnings last Thursday, posting a net income of $66 million, compared to $22 million in the first quarter of 2017. CVR CEO Dave Lamp credited the increase to “a reduction to CVR Refining’s estimated Renewable Volume Obligation and lower Renewable Identification Number prices.”

Audio file – CVR Energy CEO Dave Lamp, 2018 Q1 report

The company’s Coffeyville, Kansas refinery has a capacity of 132,000 barrels per calendar day (bpcd) and the Wynnewood, Oklahoma has a 74,500 bpcd capacity – just under the 75,000 barrel cut off for a “small refinery” under the EPA’s definition.

During a House Energy subcommittee hearing last week, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was asked directly by Maryland Democrat Rep. John Sarbanes if Carl Icahn’s CVR Energy had applied for a waiver. Pruitt replied that he was “not sure” and did not directly answer whether the company might have received one, saying “These exemptions are governed by statute…” before being interrupted by Sarbanes saying, “You’re going to find that out for us..because it raises serious questions about conflicts of interest.”

Listen to that exchange here: Rep. Sarbanes questions EPA Admin. Pruitt

RFA Urges CARB to Use More Ethanol

Domestic Fuel - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 05:50

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to allow greater market access for ethanol blended fuel to help the state reach its climate policy objectives.

According to comments submitted by RFA, ethanol has played a key role in the success of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and could do more if certain regulatory actions are taken to allow greater market access.

CARB held a hearing last week to consider amendments that would expand the LCFS through 2030 and increase the stringency of the required carbon intensity (CI) reductions and RFA Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper provided oral testimony at the hearing in addition to the group’s written comments.

CARB’s own data show that ethanol is responsible for reducing GHG emissions by 14.5 million metric tons (CO2-equivalent), or 45% of the total reductions achieved under the LCFS to date, RFA noted in its comments. In addition, data released by CARB last week shows that the ethanol used in California has an average CI that is 31% lower than gasoline.

RFA’s comments offered several recommendations that would allow ethanol to make even greater contributions to the LCFS goals, including:

• Expediting approval of new pathway petitions for cellulosic ethanol produced from grain kernel fiber.
• Amending current regulations to allow for the sale of E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) in California. A recent study by Life Cycle Associates shows that introduction of E15 would significantly increase LCFS credit generation, reduce gasoline consumption, and enhance the near- and long-term sustainability of the program. If California allows the sale of E15 beginning in 2020, the study shows cumulative GHG reductions achieved under the LCFS increase by 15-19 MMT CO2e by 2030, depending on the mix of ethanol sources.
• Revising default lifecycle GHG assessment model assumptions regarding grain sorghum production.
• Beginning a process to consider other options for further decarbonizing the remaining liquid fuels in the California mark

Pruitt grilled on Capitol Hill while Cruz 'sideshow' held on lawn

Ethanol Producer - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:52
The debate in Washington, D.C., over RFS was in full force April 26 as U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was grilled at a House committee hearing on his issuance of waivers while Sen. Ted Cruz stumped with refinery and steel workers on the lawn.

USDA: February corn use for fuel ethanol at 434 million bushels

Ethanol Producer - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:50
The USDA recently released its Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report for April, reporting that corn used for fuel ethanol production in February was down from January, but up when compared to February 2017.

RFA to CARB: Ethanol plays a key role in LCFS success story

Ethanol Producer - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:48
Ethanol has played a key role in the success of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and is poised to make even greater contributions to the state’s climate policy objectives if certain regulatory actions are taken to allow greater market access.

Ethanol Report on Pruitt and the RFS

Domestic Fuel - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 06:13

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has been “unapologetic” under questioning this week about granting dozens of small refinery hardship exemptions, and Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen believes he will continue to do so unchecked.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report, Dinneen talks about how the exemptions have effectively cut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by over 1.5 billion gallons, and how he believes Scott Pruitt is working against the wishes of President Trump.

Listen here: Ethanol Report on Pruitt and the RFS

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Pruitt Provides Vague Answers About RFS Exemptions

Domestic Fuel - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 05:14

The budget for the Environmental Protection Agency was the topic of two separate House hearings Thursday, but lawmakers spent the majority of the time addressing other concerns with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was brought up immediately by House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment Chairman John Shimkus of Illinois, who made it clear he would like to see Congress make any decisions about changes in the program, rather than the agency. “Potential administrative actions (to change the RFS) hang like the sword of Damocles over efforts on Capitol Hill to reach an enduring, legislative solution to the problems of that program,” said Shimkus. Pruitt responded that there were administrative actions that he believes can be taken, such as transparency in the RIN market and granting the RVP waiver to allow year round sales of E15, but “Congress’ role is very important.”

Rep. Shimkus questions EPA Admin. Pruitt

One of the many subcommittee members from Texas, Rep. Gene Green, questioned Pruitt about the number of RFS small refinery hardship waivers that have been granted by EPA, saying that the oil industry agrees with the ethanol industry that information should be made public. Pruitt gave a vague response about the actual numbers, saying last year they received request numbering “somewhere in the mid-20s” for the 2016 obligations, but “we received more than that this year” for 2017.

Rep. Green questions EPA Admin. Pruitt

Iowa Democrat Dave Loebsack asked the administrator what he intends to do about the more than one billion gallons of biofuels required by the statute that have been waived away. “Under Section 211 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator is required to reassign gallons that are waived under the small refiner exemption to other obligated parties,” said Loebsack, asking Pruitt if he had done so. “It’s my understanding that process has happened as it’s supposed to,” Pruitt replied. Asked if he would provide the names of refineries, Pruitt said, “Subject to the confidential business information.” Pruitt told another member that he was “not sure” whether Carl Icahn’s CVR Energy had applied for a waiver, and did not directly answer whether the company might have received one, saying “These exemptions are governed by statute.”

Rep. Loebsack questions EPA Admin. Pruitt

EPA: 20.98 million cellulosic RINs generated in March

Ethanol Producer - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 15:03
The U.S. EPA has released renewable identification number (RIN) generation data for March, reporting that more than 1.56 billion RINs were generated during the month, including nearly 20.98 million cellulosic RINs.