RFA Head Touts Ethanol Success in 2017

Dinneen Warns of Efforts to Undercut Ethanol Industry's Success

NEW YORK (DTN) -- The outlook for the U.S. ethanol industry is strong in light of record production and exports, according to Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuel Association, the ethanol industry's trade group.

Dinneen, who was addressing the RFA's Annual National Ethanol Conference in San Antonio, Texas, described the past year as a success despite the pushback the industry has received from Washington, D.C.

He highlighted domestic production in 2017 that reached "a record 15.8 billion gallons from 211 ethanol plants across 28 states, and that the national blend level exceeded 10% as E15 and E85 sales soared."

U.S. ethanol exports climbed to a record 1.4 billion gallons, with shipments reaching more than 60 countries.

However, Dinneen warned about unrelenting efforts of their detractors that include the oil industry to undercut the ethanol industry's success.

"Buoyed by sympathizers in the administration and their champions on Capitol Hill, fueled by funding we can only imagine, and willing to distort reality to fit their agenda, efforts to undermine the growth in renewable fuels, repeal or render toothless the Renewable Fuel Standard, and deny consumers choice at the pump are gaining momentum," he said.

Dinneen added, "Proposals to reform or repeal the RFS hold no water... It does not need to be reformed simply because some refiners don't like the policy. The bottom line is this: There is no reason for the ethanol industry or its champions in Washington to accept demand destruction as a necessary or legal path to the future to accommodate the failed business plans of a few independent refiners. The facts are on our side… And the President is on our side."

He said one of RFA's top policy priorities is for RVP parity, providing consumers with the same year-round access to E15 and higher level ethanol blends as E10.

"This disparate treatment of E10 and E15 with regard to volatility regulations is the single most significant barrier to expanded ethanol use and it needs to end," Dinneen said.

Dinneen also expressed concern over the growing protectionist tariffs that have been imposed by the European Union, China and Brazil.

"We will never build a dynamic and competitive biofuels trade on the back of tariff and non-tariff barriers," he said.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@dtn.com