Industry launches ad campaign touting benefits of corn-based fuel

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2012

As the ongoing drought triggers further attacks on corn-based fuel, an industry group is launching a new ad in the Midwest that will highlight ethanol’s benefits.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) ad will appear in movie theaters in Iowa and Minnesota — respectively, the largest and fourth-largest ethanol producers in the nation — and will tell audiences that ethanol saved consumers an average of $1.09 per gallon at the gas pump last year. Several ethanol companies and the Minnesota Biofuels Association are sponsoring the campaign, which is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of moviegoers.

“Ethanol is a major contributor to the economy in the state of Minnesota,” said Mike Jerke, general manager of Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co., which is sponsoring the ad at theaters in Minneapolis and Woodbury, Minn. “These theater ads are a great way to show customers that this domestic fuel is a safe, clean-burning fuel that is reducing gas prices and saving Americans money.”

The ad is the successor to an ad campaign dubbed “Right Here, Right Now” that appeared two years ago touting the growth of the domestic ethanol industry. The new ad, titled “Open Road,” is the first to focus on ethanol’s tie to gasoline prices, according to RFA.

“The increasing use of ethanol fuel has a positive impact on our nation’s economy, providing jobs; our environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and our national security, reducing foreign oil dependence dramatically,” RFA said in a statement. “It is important that consumers are aware of these benefits.

The ad will also be shown in theaters in Iowa in Mason City, Burlington, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Coralville, Iowa City, Johnston and Cedar Rapids, as well as in Rochester, Minn. Golden Grain Energy, Homeland Energy Solutions, Absolute Energy and Big River Resources are sponsoring the ad in these locations.

The campaign comes as ethanol faces increasing attacks on and off Capitol Hill from critics in the livestock industry who say the fuel is exacerbating the drought by driving up the price of corn (Greenwire, July 27).

Livestock groups have also questioned ethanol’s contribution to lower gas prices, highlighting a recent study done by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Davis, that disputed the $1.09 figure (Greenwire, July 18).