Producers push back against anti-ethanol ads in Ohio

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ohio ethanol producers are protesting recent ads in the state to discredit the corn-based renewable fuel as a low-carbon alternative to petroleum.

The Ohio Ethanol Producers Association and the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association are reacting to the American Council for Capital Formation’s ad buy in the Buckeye State for TV spots that assert corn ethanol is no better than gasoline when it comes to greenhouse-gas-reducing effects.

“I don’t think that the misleading ads that we’re seeing can go unchecked,” Mark Borer, president of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association, said in a call with reporters.

ACCF last week announced that the ads would run in Ohio and three New England states and released analyses on how the RFS has affected the environment and economy in the states (E&E Daily, Nov. 3).

Borer criticized the ads as an effort to malign ethanol at a time when the corn fuel is cheaper than gasoline. Ethanol prices currently range from $1.52 to $1.65 per gallon, and the U.S. average for gasoline is $2.24 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Ethanol right now is at a significant price advantage compared to gasoline,” said Borer. “That’s what’s driving this. It’s important for us to realize that’s what’s behind this campaign.”

ACCF’s ad buy allowed the ads to run in the Ohio market for one week. The ads aired on Monday before ACCF received a letter from the Ohio groups to stop them, said a source affiliated with ACCF.

The Ohio groups said their letter to ACCF on the ads went unanswered. The source said ACCF received the letter less than 24 hours ago.

“I think these guys sometimes get lost in this weird, parallel universe in which they actually convince themselves that this mountain of damning, definitive science and data about corn ethanol’s environmental impact doesn’t exist, or that folks don’t actually know about it,” Dave Banks, executive vice president of ACCF, said in a statement.