The Evolution of Ethanol

“The industry is at a point where the next evolution is here. You know it’s at the next phase.” Toni Nuernberg, the new Executive Director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council says the ethanol industry is facing significant changes and challenges. That’s why, she says, both EPIC members and non-members attended the organization’s first annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska earlier this month. Toni says leaders in the ethanol industry are facing challenges and conflicts never before seen in the industry. At the same time, she says the industry is poised to make an unprecedented impact on fueling the nation.

About 100 industry leaders attended the meeting. Chuck was also there covering the event. You can listen to Chuck’s one-on-one interview Toni here:

epic-annual-mtg-toni.mp3

Ethanol Groups Working Together

The three major ethanol producer groups are working together to combat negative publicity and keep ethanol moving forward.

EPIC Fueling LogoEthanol Promotion and Information Council Executive Director Toni Nuernberg says the three groups – EPIC, the Renewable Fuels Association, and the American Coalition for Ethanol – complement each other.

RFA“All three of us have a roll to play in this industry,” Nuernberg says. “We are looking at all the initiatives under way by the different organizations, how we can work together, and make sure we’re not duplicating effort.”

ACEEPIC’s main focus is to drive demand with consumers, while RFA’s role is to protect and promote policy in Washington DC, and ACE is the grassroots organization dedicated to expansion of ethanol production.

Because of the three different roles, Nuernberg says all three groups should be supported by the industry. “It’s all equally important and will benefit plants long-term,” she says.

EPIC has just started a major national advertising campaign, which also includes three syndicated radio programs – The Wall Street Journal, NPR Car Talk and Bill O’Reilly. Nuernberg says they are very pleased to have the support of O’Reilly in the effort.

Listen to an interview with Toni Nuernberg from the 2008 FEW here about the ethanol industry’s promotional efforts:
few08-toni.mp3

2008 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Promoting Biodiesel at CMA Music Fest

Joe Jobe and Chuck LeavellOver on our sister AgWired site we’ve had coverage of New Holland activities at the CMA Music Fest. One of those is the annual Michael Peterson/New Holland Celebrity Tractor Race. It provides a great opportunity to promote renewable fuels to the country music loving public.

Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (left) and Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones (right) were two of the competitors out here at the Race today. In this post you can watch Joe give it all he had this year, which was good but just a tad short. I’m betting he’ll be back though. He really commends Michael Peterson for being such an advocate for renewable fuels like biodiesel (the tractor was running on B20) and also New Holland for their support. He says that this country music audience is a great one to expose to the message.

Listen to my interview with Joe: cma-08-joe-jobe.mp3

Watch Joe ride:


2008 CMA Music Festival Photo Album

Iowa E85 Sales Rise as Gasoline Prices Rise

American Lung Association of IowaAccording to a press release from the American Lung Association of Iowa, E85 sales are up sharply this quarter, and are on track to shatter old records for the sale of the domestically grown fuel. Below is more detailed information.

More than 450,000 gallons of E85 were sold in Iowa in the month of April alone. This compares with just over 800,000 gallons sold in the second quarter of 2007. While sales data on May and June are not yet available, a spokesperson for the ALA-IA said the amount of E85 being purchased by owners of flex-fuel vehicles in Iowa are unprecedented.

“There is little doubt that the nationwide rise in gasoline prices is a major factor,” said Jessica Zopf, program manager for the American Lung Association of Iowa, which leads the Clean Air Choice program. “Prices of E85 vary widely, but in April 2008, average statewide prices for E85 were 81 cents less than for regular unleaded. While we welcome bargain-hunters who are trying E85 for the first time for its lower price, we hope they will continue to buy the fuel because it emits considerably less pollution than gasoline. We estimate that the E85 sold in this one month in Iowa helped prevent more than1800 tons of lifecycle CO2 from entering our air.”

Zopf also credits the increase in sales to several well-publicized promotions and events for E85 across the state. The next major event will be the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, where Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon will be among the field of top-name open wheel racers competing at the June 22 race.

E85 for 85 Cents a Gallon in Colorado

Governors Biofuels CoalitionColorado Corn Growers Association, the Governor’s Biofuels Coalition and Western Convenience will be offering E85 for 85 cents per gallon from noon until 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 12. The promotion will celebrate the addition of the domestically grown, alternative fuel to the facility at 123 West Cranston in Fowler, Colorado.

A press conference will begin at the station at 11 a.m. and will include the following speakers: Mark Sponsler of Colorado Corn Growers Association; Bob Van Meter of Western Convenience; and Mayor of Fowler, Ray A. Wards (invited).

Colorado Corn Growers Assn. “We are glad to partner with the Governor’s Biofuels Coalition (GBC) and Western Convenience who are working to expand E85 throughout the state. By opening this refueling center, we provide Colorado’s agricultural producers and rural citizens an opportunity to buy this environmentally friendly and domestic-sourced fuel. Together, we are making a difference for Colorado’s air quality and for consumers who support renewable fuel,” says Mark Sponsler, CEO of Colorado Corn.

There are about fifty E85 fueling locations throughout the state of Colorado to fuel about 85,000 flexible fuel vehicles. To find a complete listing of these E85 fueling locations, visit the Alternative Fueling Station Locator.

Indy 500 Race Fans Line Up for Ethanol

Team Ethanol IndyCar Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay autographs a hat for EPIC membersThe Ethanol tent and mobile unit display at the 92nd Indianapolis 500 is a big hit with race fans. When I dropped by there was a large crowd lined up to sign up their email address and consumer information with ethanol. Those that stopped by could also jump in the seat of a Team Ethanol IndyCar replica, play some racing videogames and pick up a tiny replica of the No. 17 car.


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Promoting Ethanol at the Indy Festival Parade

2008 IPL Festival ParadeIndyCar drivers, celebs, models, Olympic gold medalists and more can all be spotted at the IPL Festival Parade. That’s a big reason why it’s such a huge event. This year was the second-straight year for a sell out crowd.

EPIC brand ambassadors at the 2008 IPL Festival ParadeThe Ethanol Promotion and Information Council took advantage of the large crowds and sent brand ambassadors to the parade. Young girls sporting the “e-logo” handed out ethanol schwag including little green ethanol flags and a bag of informational brochures.


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Indiana Corn Goes Mobile with Ethanol Education

Indiana Corn Marketing Council Mobile Marketing UnitThe 2008 Indy Pace Car corvette wasn’t the only shiny new toy to check out at the giveaway this morning. The Indiana Corn Marketing Council debuted its new interactive mobile marketing unit complete with videos detailing the production of ethanol and a database of local fuel retailers that offer E10 and E85 fuel blends. Visitors can even print off a list of local stations.

Mike Shuter President of the Indiana Corn Marketing CouncilI caught up with Indiana Corn’s Mark Walters again, as well as ICMC’s Mike Shuter (pictured), the council’s President and a Frankton, IN farmer. We talked about the new mobile marketing unit, the truth about ethanol as they see it and how IN corn fits into the ethanol industry. You can listen to my interview with Mark and Mike here: shuter-walters-indy.mp3


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Indianapolis Radio Supports Ethanol

Tom Severino with Emmis Indianapolis RadioTaking the 2008 Corvette is fun… and a bit dangerous. Tom Severino will promise you that. Tom is the Vice President and Market Manager of Emmis Indianapolis radio, the parent company of Hank FM. I spoke with Tom about Hank FM’s joint effort with the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council to promote ethanol. The three organizations hosted three pump promotions and a 2008 Indy Pace Car corvette giveaway. Tom said ethanol is a great fuel and a good use of corn and pump promotions are a great

You can listen to my interview with Tom here: severino-tom-indy.mp3


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

And the Winner Is…

200 Corvette Giveaway ContestantsWell winners, really. And no, they’re not the two cute girls to the right. They were so cute though that I had to use their picture. It was Darron Stewart and his two sons that had brought the magic touch from Carmel, IN to a certain red buzzer. The troupe won a 2-year lease to a 2008 Indy pace car corvette at this morning’s special giveaway. The giveaway was the final event in a month-long promotion to raise awareness of ethanol. Hank FM, The Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council have been hosting pump promotions and corvette qualifying opportunities throughout the month of May. Qualifying contestants drew numbers and lined up accordingly to try their shot at pressing the buzzer. Darron and his boys were the lucky ones and walked away with the keys to a 2008 vette.

Check out video of the winning contestants below:

EPIC’s Joanna Schroeder manned the video. Thanks Joanna.


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Driver Justin Wilson Says Ethanol Makes IndyCars Go Fast

Joanna Schroeder Newbie IndyCar Driver Justin Wilson (pictured 2nd from left) says race car drivers want to go as fast as technology will let them. He says ethanol helps IndyCars do just that. Justin is referring to the smaller tank size and the improved torque when burning 100 percent ethanol fuel. When the IndyCars operated on methanol just a few years ago, the gas tanks held 34 gallons. But now, drivers see the same kind of mileage while burning just 22 gallons of ethanol. Justin says that amounts to extra performance and higher speeds.

Justin began driving in the Indy Racing League this year when Indy and the Champ Car World Series merged in February. He pilots the No. 2 McDonald’s car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

I spoke with Justin at today’s pump promotion sponsored by EPIC and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. You can listen to Graham talk about his experience with driving on ethanol here: wilson-justin-pump.mp3


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Graham Rahal Says Ethanol is Sweet…

 Hank FM interviews Dallara No. 06 IndyCar driver Graham Rahal…sweet-smelling that is. Graham Rahal, driver of the No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Dallara was one of three IndyCar drivers at the Crystal Flash pump promotion in Carmel, IN this afternoon. The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council sponsored the event.

This is Graham’s first season racing with an engine that runs on 100 percent ethanol fuel. The switch to an ethanol-fueled car also proved to be rather sweet for the 19-year-old Indy competitor. Graham won his first ever Indy race in St. Petersburg, becoming the youngest driver to win a major motorsports victory. Graham snagged the 13th pole position for his biggest race to date, the Indy 500.

I managed to snag some face time with Graham in between radio spots and autograph requests during today’s pump promotion. You can listen to Graham talk about his experience with driving on ethanol here: rahal-graham-pump.mp3


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Hunter-Reay Says Ethanol Pump Promos Fight Negative Propoganda

Ryan Hunter-Reay autographs a replica of the Team Ethanol No. 7 IndyCar for a race fanTeam Ethanol Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay says pump promotions help emphasize what ethanol is all about: giving consumers a break at the pump as fuel prices continue to spike. Ryan drives the No. 17 Rahal-Letterman Racing IndyCar in the Indy Racing League and he and two other IndyCar drivers were out at the pumps in Carmel, IN today educating consumers on a fuel that’s become the focal point of controversy.

The Indianapolis Star featured a cover story about the recent spotlight on ethanol, fuel prices and food prices. The local newspaper quoted Indiana Agriculture Director Andy Miller saying Congress’ proposed reduction or even end to federal ethanol subsidies “would be a major blow” for his state.

And that’s what Ryan wants to point out: that ethanol would be a considerable blow for consumers too… in every state. Ryan says, in some cases, ethanol helps keep gas prices down by as much as $0.50 a gallon. He says consumers have many questions about ethanol and its negative propaganda, wondering what’s true and what’s false. That’s where pump promotions help. Ryan says filling up on E10 or E85 helps open consumers’ eyes and gives them an opportunity to ask both ethanol experts and IndyCar drivers questions. “It’s worked for the IndyCar Series at 240 miles per hour, it can work for these folks driving at 35,” Ryan said.

I spoke with Ryan about how pump promotions are still a relevant tool in getting out the facts about ethanol. You can listen to my interview with Ryan here: hunter-reay-ryan-pump.mp3


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Consumers Save Nearly a Dollar Per Gallon on E10 Ethanol Fuel

2008 EPIC and Indiana Corn Marketing Council ethanol pump promotion at Crystal FlashIt was a record-breaking event for the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. It was also record-breaking for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. Consumers pumped just under 3,600 gallons of ethanol-blended fuel at the Crystal Flash pump promotion this afternoon. Customers were able to fill up on an E10 blend for $2.97 and E85 for just $1.85. Minutes before the promotion started at 4 p.m. E10 was going for $3.84 while E85 was going for $3.29.

EPIC has been hosting pump promotions for three years. The Indiana Corn Marketing Council has worked with EPIC at Indianapolis metro area pump promotions for two. Both organizations agree that the events are a great way to promote ethanol while also highlighting the prestigious Indy 500 race, which is scheduled for this weekend. The Indy Racing League made ethanol the official fuel of its series when it switched to burning 100 percent ethanol fuel in its Indy race cars last year.

EPIC and Indiana Corn had expanded their ethanol pump promotion program this year, offering discounted fuel on three separate occasions this month. This third and final promotion during race week set records for both organizations. IndyCar drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal and Jim Wilson greeted ethanol consumers with smiles, autographs and a rare opportunity for face time with IRL stars. Customers also got to check out a life-size Team Ethanol IndyCar replica and a 2008 Corvette Indy parade car. One lucky Hank FM listener will win a 2-year lease for the corvette during a special giveaway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway tomorrow morning.

I’ll have interviews with the drivers, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Crystal Flash posted shortly.


2008 Indy 500 Photo Album

Getting To Know Toni

Ethanol Executive Director Toni NuernbergToni Nuernberg is the newest member of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. She joined EPIC as the new executive director about 2 months ago, replacing Tom Slunecka after he accepted the offer to become the Vice President of Business Development for KL Process Design Group in South Dakota. We already heard from Toni during EPIC’s press conference on the “Food and Fuel” discussion. But, I took the opportunity to grab ZimmComm’s first one-on-one interview with Toni at the Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300.

You can hear what Toni has to say about joining EPIC and about recent criticism of ethanol here:
kc-toni-nuernberg-08.mp3


2008 Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300 Photo Album