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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE May 16, 2021

Top Story

Iowa Battle Lines Drawn on E15 Mandate

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

Battle lines have been drawn in many small Iowa towns where local convenience store chains sell E15 to help local farmers but stand firm against a proposal to mandate the sale of the fuel along with 11% biodiesel across the state. Iowa convenience stores support local small communities with jobs and a market for fuel produced yet stand opposed to the legislation. In the political world, some critics of the convenience stores’ position paint it as anti-ethanol yet are willing to take advantage of millions of dollars in ethanol-industry aid to expand infrastructure. Doug Beech, legal counsel and director of government relations for Casey’s, said opposing such a mandate comes down to cost. [ read more … ]

Markets

Nation’s Largest Ethanol Producer Poet In Talks to Buy Flint Hills’ Plants

By Todd Neeley, DTN  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

The nation’s largest ethanol producer Poet, LLC, may become even larger if a deal is struck to buy all of the ethanol assets owned by Flint Hills Resources, the nation’s fifth-largest producer. DTN confirmed with Poet on Thursday that the Sioux Falls, South Dakota,-based company is continuing talks with Flint Hills. Flint Hills owns six ethanol plants including five in Iowa and one in Nebraska, totaling about 800 million gallons of production capacity. [ read more … ]

Minneapolis Fed: Land Values, Cash Rents Make Largest Quarterly Jump Since the Ethanol Boom

By Katie Micik Dehlinger, DTN  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

Agricultural bankers in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin see higher incomes, high loan repayment rates, higher land values and higher cash rents, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. For the first three months of 2021, ag bankers said farm incomes improved from the year before, which in turn lead to a steady increase in loan repayment rates as well as lower demand for new loans and renewals. The survey included 67 respondents, all bankers that regularly respond to the survey. [ read more … ]

INSIGHT: Policy delays slow biofuels market growth

By Tom Brown, ICIS  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

Aeroplanes will need to shift to clean fuel sources, waste from the high-polluting logistic sector will have to be cut to the bone, and the proportion of ethanol in transport fuels is likely to increase in many places. The coronavirus pandemic has sharpened government attention on more immediate issues than transport sector reform, with Indonesia and Malaysia pushing back biodiesel blending mandates temporarily and Thailand postponing its ethanol-blending mandate indefinitely. [ read more … ]

Brazil fuel retailers ask govt to cut ethanol blending in gasoline

By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

Fuel retailers in Brazil have asked the government to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline, saying a smaller production in the current season has reduced the biofuel’s supply and increased prices. Fecombustiveis, an association representing around 40,000 gas stations in Brazil, asked for the ethanol blend in gasoline to be reduced from 27% currently to 18%, saying the smaller sugar cane crop this year due to drier-than-normal weather reduced ethanol production.
[ read more … ]

E-Fuels

Can E-Fuels Save the Combustion Engine?

By Julia Petron and Dieter Holger, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

Maybe the combustion engine isn’t dead after all. Synthetic fuels are attracting growing interest as a way to make industries ranging from jets to ships to cars greener without having to rethink or replace their traditional engines. Known as electrofuels or e-fuels, these synthetics are made by mixing hydrogen derived from renewable sources usually with captured carbon dioxide to create a virtually carbon-neutral version of fuels such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene. [ read more … ]

EVs

Lawmakers Back $8 Billion for Electric U.S. Postal Vehicles

By Todd Shields, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

House lawmakers advanced language authorizing $8 billion for the U.S. Postal Service to buy more electric vehicles as the agency modernizes its aging fleet. The House Oversight and Reform Committee added the measure before approving and sending to the full House legislation aimed at better tracking mailed ballots. Separately the panel approved a bill to shore up Postal Service finances after years of losses at the agency. [ read more … ]

Time to panic-buy an electric pickup truck?

By MICHAEL GRUNWALD, Politico  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

General Motors has pledged to go all-electric by 2035, Volkswagen by 2027 and Jaguar by 2025. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for $174 billion in electric vehicle investments. When the Colonial pipeline hack created a gas shortage this week, his energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, slyly noted that it wouldn’t affect EV owners. But here’s a less trendy factoid: In 2020, while Americans bought nearly 300,000 electric vehicles, they also bought nearly 800,000 Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The F-150 may be a gas-guzzling disaster for the climate, but it’s been the nation’s best-selling vehicle for 44 straight years. [ read more … ]

Commentary

The Ethanol Gasoline Tax

By Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

Economists aren’t the best at predicting how markets or technologies will evolve, but politicians are worse. In the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, Congress required gasoline sold in the U.S. to contain increasing volumes of “renewable” fuel—i.e., ethanol from corn, algae and cellulosic waste. The bill, in its unwisdom, tasked the Environmental Protection Agency with assigning refiners and importers annual quotas for ethanol they must blend into gasoline or diesel fuel. The businesses get tradeable credits known as renewable identification numbers (RINs) for each gallon of renewable fuel. Those that don’t meet their quotas have to buy RINs from other parties to comply. [ read more … ]

Colonial Pipeline

Pipeline Crisis Spurs Calls to Boost, and Foresake, Fossil Fuels

By Will Wade and Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

The cyber-attack that crippled the nation’s biggest fuel pipeline this week triggered spot shortages of gasoline and a gusher of political rhetoric, with groups from across the political spectrum offering myriad, and contradictory, solutions. The oil industry says the answer is to invest in more fossil-fuel infrastructure, including refineries. Environmental groups think the key is more electric vehicles on the road and solar panels on the grid. A conservative think tank called the outage a “wake-up call” for pipeline protesters to stop. Even a coal group got involved, noting that its product doesn’t need to be piped anywhere. [ read more … ]

Colonial Pipeline Has Been a Lucrative Cash Cow for Many Years

By Gerson Freitas Jr, Javier Blas and David Wethe, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted May 16, 2021

While it began six decades ago as a proud joint project of big oil companies — the U.S. commerce secretary was present for the 1962 groundbreaking — today it’s mostly owned by an arm of Koch Industries and several Wall Street investors, and is run as much like a financial asset as a major piece of infrastructure. Over the past decade, Colonial has distributed nearly all its profits, sometimes more, in the form of dividends. In 2018, for example, it paid nearly $670 million to its owners, even more than the $467 million net income. Last year, it returned to investors over 90% of its $421.6 million in profits. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.