Ethanol Opponents Call for End to Tax Incentives

Seizing on last week’s CBO report and a proposal by Growth Energy to phase out and redirect the blenders tax credit for ethanol (VEETC), several long-time opponents of ethanol renewed their call for an end to all tax incentives for the home-grown fuel.

In a press conference this morning, representatives from the American Meat Institute (AMI), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Taxpayers for Common Sense together said that the tax credit should be eliminated at the end of this year when it expires, and the corresponding tariff on imported ethanol should also be ended.

AMI president J. Patrick Boyle claims that the blenders tax credit distorts the corn market and increases the cost of feeding animals. “Thirty years of tax payer support for the corn-based ethanol industry has created a mature industry that now needs to compete fairly in the market place and allow for the next generation of renewable fuels to grow,” said Boyle.

NRDC’s Nathanael Greene called the tax credit a “bribe” for fuel blenders to comply with the Renewable Fuels Standard. “It’s sort of like paying people to obey the speed limit,” Greene said. He also called the VEETC an “environmental problem” that “drives up food prices, encourages agribusiness to pollute our water.”

The groups made it clear that they do not support Growth Energy’s proposal to redirect the tax credit and use it instead to increase blender pumps and flex fuel vehicles, but said that proposal shows the industry recognizes that the tax credit is in jeopardy. Steve Ellis with Taxpayers for Common Sense called Growth Energy’s proposal ironic. “At the same time they talk about a mandate for flex fuel vehicles and for pumps across the country, these are enormous subsidies, and yet they’re talking about a level playing and letting the free market work,” Ellis said. Continue reading

2010 FedFleet Conference Kicks Off in Phoenix

The 10th Annual Federal Fleet Conference kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona this week offering attendees the chance to attend sessions and have the opportunity to visit with exhibition vendors on fleet management and automative procurement.

Over 1,300 participants from all levels of fleet and aviation management within the Federal Government are in attendance. Workshop sessions began on Sunday with a Basic Fleet Class which educated new Federal Fleet management on how to function with the their agency, learn about fleet policies, procedures, mandates, new programs and more. Many workshops followed throughout the week.

The exhibit hall opened on Monday to over 180 companies who can network with other vendors, Federal, State, local government and private sector fleet menagers. Exhibitors included automobile manufacturers, alternative fuel and alternative fuel vehicle promoters and more.

The 2011 FedFleet conference will be held in Orlando, Florida from July 26-28.

2011 Chevy Caprice to be FFV

Chevrolet has released the technical manual for the Holden-based 2011 Chevrolet Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle) and it includes an E85 compatible platform.

The new 2011 Caprice will be powered by a 265kW/521Nm 6.0-litre V8 and include Active Fuel Management. General Motors (GM) says its 0-100km/h time of less than 6.0 seconds will make it the police service’s fastest-accelerating and highest-top speed vehicle. This FFV will be included in GM’s extensive line of E85 compatible vehicles available in 2012, but this vehicle will not be offered at the retail level.

In 2010, GM offers as flexible fuel:
Buick Lucerne
Buick Terraza
Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Avalanche
Chevrolet Express
Chevrolet HHR
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Tahoe
GMC Savana
GMC Sierra Pickup
GMC Sierra Denali

Recently, the 2011 Buick Regal was announced to be flexible fuel.

For a complete listing of flexible fuel vehicles, click here.

FlexFuel Vehicle Owners Win “Fuel on the Fourth”

Two lucky Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV) owners received some American grown fuel for Independence Day, courtesy of Growth Energy.

Growth EnergyThe ethanol organization announced the winners of the “Fuel on the Fourth” contest offering nearly $300 in flex fuel cards to Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV) owners. Contestants had one month to submit a photo of themselves with their FFV along with a caption describing why they choose to buy flex fuel for their vehicle.

Two winners were selected from the submissions. First place winner Jane Marie Connell of Granite Falls, Minn. and second place winner Harvey Fliehs III of Groton, S.D. will receive flex fuel cards worth $185 and $85 respectively, to be used for the purchase of flex fuel for their vehicles. Both winners will receive their cards in time for the Independence Day weekend.

Connell’s name was chosen through a random drawing for the first place prize while second place winner Fliehs was selected for his creative submission and photo (pictured). In his submission, Fliehs, a farmer in South Dakota, wrote, “Using flex fuel is an everyday reminder that the corn we produce is making a positive impact on our community, environment and country. Our family is a 3rd generation farm, where not only the farm is passed down but the name as well. We’re proud to provide a sustainable fuel source that we can pass down to generations to come.”

Celebrate Independence with Homegrown Fuel on the Fourth

usa ethanolGrowth Energy is encouraging Americans to celebrate Independence Day this year with homegrown “Fuel on the Fourth.”

The ethanol organization has announced a new one month promotion offering nearly $300 in E85 fuel to Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV) owners through the “Fuel on the Fourth” contest. Starting June 1st, FFV owners can enter to win one of two E85 Fuel Credit Cards – equal to $185 and $85 respectively – by submitting a photo of themselves with their FFV along with a caption describing why they choose to buy E85 fuel.

Growth EnergyThe promotion is designed to show the benefits of Flex Fuel Vehicles – which are capable of operating on any combination of conventional and renewable fuels – and recruit additional members to Growth Force, a group that believes in a cleaner, greener America through the use of biofuels.

The contest will run between June 1st and July 1st and is open to FFV owners. Growth Energy will select a first prize winner at random on July 1st in anticipation of July 4th. A second winner will be chosen based on the creativity of the photo and caption submitted. Photos and submissions will be featured on the Growthenergy.org and Growthforce.org websites. To enter, participants must complete a form located at www.growthforce.org/fuelonthefourth.

Iowa Corn and Chevy Promote Ethanol

Iowa corn growers have teamed up with two Chevy dealerships to promote ethanol and the vehicles that it fuels.

Holmes Chevrolet in Norwalk and Karl Chevrolet in Ankeny are partnering with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) to promote flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and the use of E85 in Iowa. Consumers who purchase a FFV at either dealership between now and June 15, 2010 are eligible for $250 in ethanol/E85 certificates from a participating fuel station.

Iowa Corn Promotion Board“One out of every 10 vehicles in Iowa are Flex-fuel vehicles and can use E85,” said Shannon Textor, Iowa Corn Director of Market Development. “Our goal is to get more FFVs on the road and to sell more ethanol blended fuel.”

Both Holmes Chevrolet and Karl Chevrolet will be able to give away up to forty $250 gift certificates that consumers can use to purchase E85 for their new or used FFV.

Ford’s 2011 Flexible Fuel Vehicles

Ford has announced a handful of models for their 2011 flexible fuel line-up. The company, who began producing FFVs in the mid 1990′s will offer more than 12 models in the upcoming year, according to a Growth Energy press release.

“If we’re going to reduce emissions, clean the air, and increase our energy independence, we need to ensure that our entire vehicle fleet and fuel infrastructure are ready to use expanded U.S. ethanol production,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “Each additional flex fuel vehicle model gives consumers the option of filling up with domestic, homegrown renewable fuel and enhances our national security, all while creating U.S. jobs and greening our environment. We commend Ford Motor Co. for their continued commitment to manufacture FFVs and we urge Congress to pass legislation that will encourage all vehicles to be flex-fuel and support the construction of blender pumps and ethanol dispensing equipment.”

Ford’s announcement was made this week at the Ford 2011 Model Year Advance Product Meeting in Minnesota in front of fleet and dealership representatives. At the meeting, Ford personnel provided an overview of their vehicle lineup for the coming model year which includes more than 12 Flex Fuel Vehicle models.

The new 2011 FFV models include:

3.0L Fusion3.0L Escape
F-150 (engine to be announced)5.4L Expedition & Expedition EL
5.4L Expedition EL Limo6.2L F-250 & F-350 Pickup and F-350 Chassis Cab
4.6L & 5.4L E-Series models4.6L Crown Victoria, Taxi & Police Interceptor
4.6L Lincoln Town Car5.4L Lincoln Navigator
5.4L Navigator L5.4L Navigator L Limo
3.0L Mercury Milan3.0L Mercury Mariner
4.6L Mercury Grand Marquis

Today, more than eight million vehicles on U.S. highways are flexible fuel vehicles, out of over 246 million vehicles on the road. Ford’s commitment to manufacture more Flex Fuel Vehicles will help ensure that we meet Congress’ goal of 36 billion gallons of biofuel production by 2022 as enacted in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, Buis said.

Ford Will Meet It’s FFV Goal for 2010

In 2006, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors all promised to double annual FFV production to 2 million vehicles by 2010. Ford has announced that by the end of 2010, they will fulfill that promise.

In a letter that was addressed to Members of Congress on June 28, 2006, the automobile manufacturers stated:
When we met with leaders in Washington last month, we were encouraged to find deep, bipartisan determination to address the far reaching impact of our nation’s growing dependence on foreign oil. As we reiterated last month, we believe renewable fuels can play an important role in addressing this national problem. The good news is that ethanol and other biofuels are well known to our country and to the U.S. auto industry. For decades, farmers in the heartland have been turning corn into fuel, and, likewise, we at DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors have been building flexible vehicles that run on ethanol.

Today, there are more than 5 million flexible fuel vehicles on the road, and the three domestic automotive companies will add an additional million cars and trucks this year alone. If all of these vehicles were running on E85, they would displace more than 3.5 billion gallons of gasoline a year, or a full year of gas consumption in a state such as Missouri or Tennessee.

But we are prepared to do more. We are proud to announce that we will double our production of vehicles that are capable of running on renewable fuels by 2010. That’s more than two million E85 and biodiesel capable vehicles a year by the end of the decade – the single largest commitment to renewable fuels in our nation’s history.

Ford’s announcement was made today by Sue Cischke, Ford’s group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, at the 2010 BIO International Convention in Chicago. “Flexible-fuel vehicles are a great alternative for our customers because they provide owners with the option to choose between using E85 and gasoline when filling up a car,” Cischke said. “Ethanol and other biofuels also help reduce the county’s dependence on imported oil.”

Ford along with DaimlerChrysler and General Motors plans to expand its fleet of flexible-fuel vehicles to 50 percent of vehicle production by 2012.

Ford currently offers 11 FFV models within the U.S.

Nebraska Holds FFV Awareness Campaign

Tomorrow will kick of the National Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) Awareness Campaign across the state of Nebraska. The educational campaign is a joint project of the Clean Fuels Fuondation, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, the Nebraska Ethanol Board, and others who support the utilization of E85 compatible vehicles.

As reported in a press release from the Clean Fuels Foundation, Todd Sneller, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, said “We are pleased to combine our ongoing efforts here in Nebraska with the nationwide program of the FFV Awareness Campaign. High ethanol blends like E85 can open up new markets for ethanol but we need to make sure drivers know they can use these fuels and where they can purchase them.” Sneller said several national surveys indicate that as many as 90% of the owners of FFVs either are not aware their vehicles have this capability or have never used ethanol blends. “The FFV campaign is about consumer awareness and driver education. We are going to begin with the drivers of the 87,000 FFVs on the roads of Nebraska immediately. There is no better time to start this campaign than on Earth Day.”

New state road signs will indicate if a station has E85 available and information on E85 and FFVs will be available at rest stops along Nebraska highways.

Douglas A. Durante, Director of the Clean Fuels Foundation, said the campaign is critical if the US is to achieve the benefits of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that is current law. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated the RFS can reduce pollution, increase farm income, lower fuel costs to consumers, and provide a host of other benefits, but only if we can actually use the fuel the program requires. Once we maximize the use of low level blends in conventional vehicles we must turn to FFVs.”

The National FFV Awareness Campaign is also promoting the use of higher ethanol blends in Florida and other states.

New Fuel Economy Regulations Set

The the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and unveiled new fuel economy rules today that will begin phasing in in 2012. According to EPA, the rules could potentially save the average buyer of a 2016 model year car $3,000 over the life of the vehicle and, nationally, will conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lives of the vehicles covered.

“This is a significant step towards cleaner air and energy efficiency, and an important example of how our economic and environmental priorities go hand-in-hand,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By working together with industry and capitalizing on our capacity for innovation, we’ve developed a clean cars program that is a win for automakers and drivers, a win for innovators and entrepreneurs, and a win for our planet.”

Automobile manufacturers are expected to meet these standards by more widespread adoption of conventional technologies that are already in commercial use, such as more efficient engines, transmissions, tires, aerodynamics, and materials, as well as improvements in air conditioning systems. EPA and NHTSA also expect that some manufacturers may choose to pursue more advanced fuel-saving technologies like hybrid vehicles, clean diesel engines, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric vehicles. The new regulation allows automakers to get credits for building flexiblie fuel vehicles until 2015, but after that, it must show the alternative fuel is being used to get credits.

“America needs a roadmap to reduced dependence on foreign oil and greenhouse gases, and only the federal government can play this role,” The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers President and CEO Dave McCurdy said, “The national program announced today makes sense for consumers, for government policymakers and for automakers.”

NHTSA predicts that passenger cars will have to average 33.3 mpg in 2012, a figure that rises to 37.8 mpg in 2016, light trucks, including SUVS, pickups and vans, will be required to average 25.4 mpg in 2012 and 28.8 mpg by 2016.

Lamborghini to be E85 Compatible

According to Car and Driver magazine, Lamborghini will soon be introducing a new generation of vehicle. This new generation Lamborghini will end the production of having a manual transmission and will be E85 compatible.

Maurizio Reggiani, the director of research and development at Lamborghini, says in an interview with the magazine that they will likely follow Ferrari in ending their manual transmission. He stated that manual transmissions are fitted to less than five percent of the firm’s cars. Other technologies to be implemented are systems like stop/start capability to thrift fuel in urban settings, cylinder deactivation – the V10 and V12 will then operate on half as many cylinders, E85 compatibility, and even a mild-hybrid solution.

Lamborghini was founded in 1963 by manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini. It has changed ownership numerous times since, most recently becoming a subsidiary of German car manufacturer AUDI AG (itself a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group).

Renault Introduces FFV in France

Renault has introduced an FFV in France. Renault has focused on electric powered vehicles to lessen gasoline use in the past, but now the Romania based Dacia Logan MCV, now offers a vehicle that can use 100 percent gasoline up to 85 percent ethanol fuel.

The moderately priced 1.6-liter four cylinder FFV Renault replaces the former 1.6 MPI 90 version and, in France, purchase of the vehicle will be tax free. Renault reports that the CO2 emissions are much less so it will qualify for the badging for a low emissions vehicle.

The Logan MCV is available with either a five- or seven-seat configuration. The vehicle is manufactured by the brand’s ISO 14001-certified plant in Pitesti, Romania. It is available now in France.

General Motors Executive Calls for More Ethanol Pumps

2010 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

The vice chairman of Global Product Operations for General Motors told attendees of the 15th Annual National Ethanol Conference that his company will keep putting more flexible fuel vehicles on the road, but more ethanol pumps are needed to fuel them.

Tom Stephens said GM is committed to making more than half of their vehicle production flex fuel capable by 2012. “GM is spending about $100 million a year adding flex fuel capability to our vehicles,” he said. “We can’t afford to leave this capital stranded.”

He noted that the majority of flex fuel vehicles are in highly populous areas, especially the east and west coasts, while the majority of E-85 fueling stations are located in the Midwest. He advocates the use of blender pumps to allow retailers to put both mid and high level blends in the pumps so consumers can choose the right fuel for their vehicles.

However, when it comes to increasing the blend level to 15 percent ethanol, he added a note of caution. “We believe it’s critical to complete the planned testing of mid level blends to understand the impact on light duty fleet, off-road vehicles, boats and other equipment,” he said. “Until the results of these comprehensive durability tests are fully understood, we remain concerned about customers using fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol. If ethanol gets a bad name, it will be bad for everyone.”

You can listen to or download Stephen’s speech in the player below and watch part of his talk here:

Growth Energy Works With Ricardo to Optimize Fuel Economy

growth energyEthanol advocacy organization Growth Energy will be working with automotive technology provider Ricardo to optimize flexible fuel vehicles with ethanol boosted direct injection (EBDI). The ten month project will use Ricardo’s EBDI flex fuel engine, developed from a production V6 gasoline engine, to re-power two GMC Sierra 3500 HD pickup trucks to demonstrate how highly optimized engines fueled on ethanol can provide a cost-effective, low-carbon alternative to fossil fuel.

growth energyMaking the announcement at the Washington Auto Show Tuesday morning were Ricardo President Kent Niederhofer (left) and Growth Energy Co-Chairman (Ret.) Gen. Wesley Clark, pictured here with the engine. “EBDI engine technology offers a uniquely American solution for a wide range of vehicle applications, combining extreme optimized flex-fuel engine technology offering high fuel economy, low emissions and uncompromised performance using a source of renewable fuel produced here in the United States,” said Niederhofer.

Clark added, “Through this project with Ricardo we aim to be able to put potential customers in the driving seat and demonstrate to them that with EBDI technology, ethanol can deliver performance and fuel economy and offers an attractive and sustainable transport solution using an American produced renewable fuel. Consumers should have a choice at the pump – and domestic ethanol should be one of those options for fuel.”

Read more from Growth Energy.

Sioux Falls Gets Ethanol Blender Pumps

Motorists in Sioux Falls, SD now have more fuel choices at the pump with the installation of four new ethanol blender pumps at a Kings Mart gas station in the city.

BYOThrough a joint effort between the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC), the station now offers a variety of fuel blends including unleaded gasoline and E10, and E30 and E85 for Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs).

“This is the first location in Sioux Falls to offer a blend of 30 percent ethanol for FFV owners,” said Ron Lamberty with ACE. “The important investments made by the owners of King’s Mart, and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council with the assistance of ACE and the “Blend Your Own Ethanol” campaign, have provided consumers with another ethanol fueling option in Sioux Falls.”

The BYO Ethanol campaign was launched last year as a partnership between ACE, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association and leading corn-producing states such as South Dakota. The campaign works to show gas station owners the benefits of blending ethanol and using blender pumps to provide choices for motorists.

The Sioux Falls blender pump location joins 40 other locations across South Dakota and around 150 nationwide. ACE offers an on-line map of blender pump sites.