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Outlook 2017: Rapid Adoption of E15

  • Thursday, 26 January 2017 15:37

Biofuels International

January 26, 2017

By Rachel Gantz

The industry experienced record demand for ethanol in 2016 and we expect that to continue into 2017. We expect ethanol demand to be driven by a host of factors, both domestically and abroad.

Thanks to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fully implementing the 2017 conventional biofuel renewable volume obligations (RVO) at its statutory 15 billion gallon level, domestic demand will continue to escalate and US refiners and blenders will increase their use of ethanol in blends like E15 and flex fuels like E30 and E85.

Obviously, this is good news for consumers, as more ethanol in the US fuel mix will further help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost octane, lower our dependence on foreign oil and lower prices at the pump.

We also expect US ethanol exports to continue to grow.

Some of the largest markets in 2016 were China, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and India, and with more countries around the world recognising the numerous benefits of ethanol, we expect US ethanol exports to expand further.

On the road with E15

We think octane will continue to be a big trend in 2017, as the global fuel market is short on octane and new automobiles are increasingly requiring or recommending the use of higher octane fuels.

We think automakers will embrace higher-octane petrol as a means of helping to meet more stringent fuel economy standards in the future. With a 113 octane rating, ethanol is the cleanest and lowest-cost high-octane fuel component in the marketplace.

We also think a major trend in 2017 will be more rapid adoption of E15. We saw great progress with E15 in 2016, as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programme and an industry funded.

Prime the Pump effort helped fund infrastructure development. Now that hundreds of new stations have put in the pumps to dispense E15, we expect to start seeing E15 sales volumes take off.

With a new administration taking the helm and a new Congress, the ethanol industry will be intensifying its efforts to educate and inform policymakers about the many benefits of ethanol and the RFS. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there and a number of biofuel opponents are ramping up efforts to attack the RFS and our industry.

We can’t let them succeed and we can’t let them define who we are and what we do as an industry. It will be more important than ever in 2017 for everyone in our industry to work together to ensure our new leaders have a proper understanding of the enormous contributions we make to the nation’s economy, energy security and environment.

Stimulating meaningful dialogue

The industry’s biggest challenge is to continue to grow demand for ethanol in the face of more stringent fuel economy standards in the face of flagging public support for low-carbon programmes and unrelenting attacks from the oil industry. The industry will need to invest in new technology and more infrastructure to encourage higher level ethanol blends.

Thanks to USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership funding and the industry-funded Prime the Pump programmes, retailers are expanding their offerings of E15 and other higher level blends, but a stable and strong RFS is needed to help meet growing demand for the biofuel. We also need to stimulate a meaningful dialogue with the auto industry about vehicle technology and higher octane fuels. Finally, the industry’s efforts to expand exports must continue.

The RFA will continue to lead the way when it comes to growing our industry.

What can you expect from us in 2017? A lot. We will ensure that a strong RFS is maintained, lead safety seminars on the proper handling of the fuel, issue world-class analysis on regulations that affect our industry, promote high octane fuels, boost expansion of retail infrastructure to allow more higher level ethanol blends, ensure the growth of second-generation biofuels and grow US ethanol exports.

The RFA remains committed to growing our industry through multiple avenues and we look forward to a thriving industry in years to come.

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