Ethanol industry needs to grow demand

Source: By Meghan Grebner, Brownfield • Posted: Friday, February 19, 2016

Bob Dinneen

The head of the Renewable Fuels Association says the US ethanol industry is facing some big challenges this year.

Bob Dinneen told attendees of the National Ethanol Conference the industry will need to grow demand to overcome tight and negative profit margins and policy uncertainty.  “There’s a healthy debate as to how best to do it,” he says.  “How do we capitalize on ethanol’s octane benefits?  Can we get EPA to more stringently enforce air quality standards that would open markets for our cleaner burning fuel?”

He says the industry should look at all available options because they aren’t mutually exclusive.  “They’re all founded on a single principle,” he says.  “That ethanol, from any source, is a clean, low carbon, high octane alternative to oil that will lower costs for consumers while enhancing rural economies and addressing global climate change.”

Dinneen says even though profit margins are slim – the industry isn’t retreating.  “The strength of the US market is seen in its record production, 14.7 billion gallons,” he says.  “It’s record blending demand, 13.75 billion gallons; it’s record feed production, 40 million metric tons; and its record Greenhouse Gas reductions, 41.2 million metric tons.”

He says the US ethanol industry added 44-billion-dollars to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2015 and continues to be a cornerstone to the nation’s rural economy.