Mexican policy opens door for U.S. exports — trade groups

Source: Marc Heller, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The U.S. ethanol industry is applauding a new fuel-blending policy in Mexico, despite restrictions on ethanol use in major metropolitan areas.

Ethanol advocates said they see the policy published yesterday by the Energy Regulatory Commission of Mexico as an opening for exports of U.S. ethanol — and possibly the first step toward greater exports in the future.

“We are pleased to see Mexico begin to embrace the inclusion of fuel ethanol in their gasoline,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, in a news release. “We welcome this positive development related to ethanol use and what it could mean for furthering of the U.S.-Mexican trade partnership.”

The Mexico Energy Regulatory Commission regulations allow for fuel blends of up to 5.8 percent ethanol.

The rules would prohibit ethanol blends in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. The regulations take effect in two months.

The Renewable Fuels Association said it would continue to press the Mexican government toward expanding the use of ethanol.

Critics of U.S. ethanol mandates, however, focused on the prohibitions in the big cities and said Mexican officials had recognized ethanol’s limitations and potential for air pollution, particularly increased ozone.

The move by Mexico comes on the heels of a trade mission to the country in May led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with attendees from the Renewable Fuels Association, the U.S. Grains Council and Growth Energy, all pro-ethanol groups pushing for expanded export markets.