For Conventional Ethanol, It’s Time to Take off the Training Wheels

September 7, 2018

Remember the thrill of riding a bike for the first time – the moment your training wheels were removed and you pushed off on your own? Sure, it was scary to think you might lose your balance, but you were ready. You’d outgrown the training wheels. It was time to ride alone.

The ethanol industry has matured enough to ride alongside the big kids in fuel production. It’s time to remove the training wheels. Corn ethanol doesn’t need a mandate to remain competitive.

Ethanol is the most abundant and affordable source of octane on the market today. Demand for ethanol is tied to octane, which is an important component of our fuel. More than 95 percent of gasoline sold today contains ethanol, and on its own, it accounts for about 10 percent of the gasoline supply. Mandates aside, a valuable market for corn ethanol exists, and eliminating the conventional ethanol mandate within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) won’t change that.

Ethanol cronies complain that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been relaxing compliance obligations and destroying the demand for their product – but this isn’t true! Adjustments to the RFS haven’t impacted the purchase of conventional ethanol because consumer demand drives current ethanol sales. Through May, the U.S. is blending just as much ethanol this year as we did last year (in fact, a bit more!), and there have even been years in which the U.S. blended more conventional ethanol than required by law. Consumer demand and actual blending is not driven by the flawed Renewable Identification Number (RIN) system that has complicated compliance and proven ineffective at regulating an artificial market.

Ethanol is competitive and in high demand as a fuel octane booster. Its mandate is obsolete. The ethanol industry is mature and can thrive in the transportation fuel market. Remove the training wheels. Repeal the mandate.