Fight For Cheaper Fuel Continues

The push to restore the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has taken center stage as a top priority for ethanol producers, corn growers, and also advocates of a cleaner, greener economy. Enacted by Congress in 2005 and updated in 2007, the RFS stands as the law facilitating access to the marketplace for ethanol producers. It drives growth not only in ethanol but also in the rural economy and corn production across the nation.

“The RFS is not just a law; it’s a commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable future,” says Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “It sets targets for increasing the use of renewable fuels annually and also mandates oil refiners to blend gasoline with renewable fuels like ethanol.”

However, despite its critical role, challenges persist, primarily stemming from the oil refining sector and environmental opposition. Historically, oil refiners have resisted the RFS, viewing it as a threat to their market share. Yet, with advancements in renewable diesel and changing perspectives within the industry, this resistance is beginning to wane.

“Many integrated refineries are now recognizing the potential of renewable fuels to maintain low carbon liquid fuels,” Skor explains. “This shift in perspective signifies a growing acceptance of the RFS as a driver of positive change.”

The environmental opposition presents a different challenge. Despite ethanol’s proven environmental benefits, including reduced emissions and increased efficiency, some environmental groups remain skeptical.

“We’re committed to showcasing the sound science behind ethanol’s environmental benefits as well as fostering greater acceptance,” says Skor.

A recent milestone in the ethanol industry was the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of year-round availability of E15 in eight states. This decision, championed by Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Ohio, and also Missouri, marks a significant step forward in expanding ethanol’s market reach and driving demand.

“Ensuring year-round access to E15 is crucial for consumers, the economy, and the environment. Yet, this is just the beginning. We need a federal solution to make E15 available nationwide, benefiting consumers and rural economies across all 50 states.”

Looking ahead, the ethanol industry’s focus extends beyond E15, with sustainable aviation fuel emerging as the next frontier. The industry aims to produce three billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel by 2030, leveraging ethanol as a key feedstock. However, clarity and guidance from the U.S. government are essential to unlock the full potential of this promising market.

“As we advocate for the expansion of America’s bioeconomy, we’re committed to showcasing ethanol’s multifaceted benefits. From supporting rural economies to reducing emissions and enhancing energy security, ethanol remains a cornerstone of a sustainable future.”