This year has been one of both good news and bad news for the ethanol industry. Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen says there was enough positive happening to call this an extraordinarily exciting time.
“We produced more ethanol than we ever had,” he said. “We marketed and sold more ethanol domestically than we ever had. Margins were good and the market has been healthy. We exported almost a record amount of ethanol this year and embarked on an aggressive export market development program that I think is going to yield significant benefits in the future, and 2014 was the first year in which you saw meaningful commercial production of cellulosic ethanol, realizing the goal of the RFS to evolve this industry to new technologies and new feedstocks.”
Dinneen says the commercial reality for ethanol has been good, but the oil companies continue to attack.
“The oil companies have waged an aggressive campaign against renewable fuels generally and the RFS specifically. They have spent 10’s of millions of dollars on ad campaigns and political efforts to undermine this important program.”
Dinneen also expressed disappoint in EPA’s lack of action in 2014.
“The EPA failed to promulgate a renewable volume obligation number implementing the RFS for 2014 and sort of put the program on pause for the year and created a great deal of uncertainty. It has made it difficult to expand the tremendous progress we have made in cellulosic ethanol because investors are sitting on the sidelines.”
He said ethanol can be summed up by the Washington DC beltway. Outside there is celebration for a great year. But inside the beltway ethanol continues to have challenges. Dinneen adds there is some slow but steady progress in increasing consumer choice at the pump with more retailers offering 15% ethanol blended fuel. He is confident there will be significant E15 expansion in the future.