The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Growth Energy Predicts Biofuels Headed for Success

"We’re headed into 2023 with a bipartisan wind at our backs."

Emily Skor-CEO Growth Energy

By any measure, 2022 was a banner year for biofuel advocates in Washington, D.C. We secured new funding for blending infrastructure, critical tax incentives for clean energy, a summer waiver for E15 sales, and a stronger Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Our industry also delivered major savings at the pump during a global fuel shortage, cementing the role of low-carbon ethanol as a proven solution to our climate and energy challenges. Now we’re looking beyond the horizon at the opportunities to fuel progress under a new Congress.

This November’s election offered mixed results for both parties, with Democrats out-performing traditional midterm patterns to hold the Senate and the GOP taking control in the House, where a simple majority is enough for committee leaders to set the course of debate. Fortunately, the importance of biofuels is a topic that transcends party lines. It’s important to everyone—consumers, farmers, workers, taxpayers and policymakers. This year was no different, and we saw candidates from both parties emphasize ethanol’s role in any strong economic and environmental agenda.

In the coming months, we’ll be working closely with these newly elected—and re-elected—leaders to build on the progress we made in 2022 and kick off a new era for low-carbon biofuels.

That starts the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing rulemaking—called the Set—which marks a watershed moment for the RFS and will establish a new baseline for biofuel volumes in 2023 and beyond. As regular readers know, Growth Energy is laser-focused on making sure the Set reflects Congress’s overarching directive to steadily expand the critical role biofuels play in mitigating climate change and lowering prices at the pump. Under a consent agreement reached with Growth Energy, EPA is bound by court order to finalize the new requirements no later than June 14, and keeping that process on track will be vital to delivering on the full potential of the RFS.

At the same time, we have a limited window before the start of the next summer driving season. A temporary waiver of outdated EPA regulations allowed E15 sales to continue uninterrupted this past year, but the savings unleashed by E15 could vanish without a permanent fix. Thanks to support from key lawmakers and a number of Midwest governors, a solution is in sight, but we won’t let up until our retail partners have the certainty they need to bring cleaner, more affordable options to drivers across the nation. According to a recent report released by Growth Energy, that nationwide transition could save consumers $20.6 billion in annual fuel costs. Of course, EPA regulations are far from the only battleground for biofuel advocates in 2023. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) included far-reaching investments in clean energy and biofuels, including tax credits for carbon capture and low-carbon fuels that now have to be implemented by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The biofuels industry is already leading the charge on clean energy innovation, and a properly implemented IRA could turbo-charge that progress, unleashing lower-carbon energy on the ground and in the air. That’s why our team is already hard at work submitting regulatory comments and making sure congressional leaders are prepared to review Internal Revenue Service (IRS) decisions.

That task is especially important in a divided Congress, where the path available for any new legislation is slim. In this environment, we can expect House leaders to invest extra energy into oversight of the administration’s spending under the IRA. That scrutiny will only intensify as presidential hopefuls start making the rounds ahead of the 2024 elections. Growth Energy and our allies will be there at every step to ensure that the climate contributions of America’s biofuel industry get the support they deserve and remain a point of pride for rural communities and their representatives in Congress.

Thankfully, we’re headed into 2023 with a bipartisan wind at our backs. Biofuels are positioned for success, and we’re grateful to our supporters in Congress—old and new—who share Growth Energy’s vision for a thriving low-carbon economy.

RFA thanks Missouri governor for acting to secure year-round E15

The Renewable Fuels Association on Dec. 23 applauded Missouri Gov. Mike Parson for notifying the U.S. EPA that he is taking action to allow the year-round sale of lower-carbon, lower-cost E15 in the Show-Me State. Missouri is the tenth state to send such a notification to EPA.

Gov. Parson is exercising the authority granted to state governors under the Clean Air Act, and his action will result in equality in the regulation of E15 and E10 volatility during the summer months. This would allow retailers and marketers in Missouri to sell E15 unincumbered year-round. The letter from Gov. Parson follows a similar move in late April by a bipartisan group of eight governors from Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Ohio joined the effort in June.

In his letter to EPA, Gov. Parson thanked Administrator Michael Regan for taking emergency action to allow continued sales of E15 last summer but noted that emergency waivers are “not a long-term solution for Missouri’s fuel retailers, farmers and ethanol producers, consumers, or the environment. Thus, I am joining other Midwest states in seeking a permanent solution to allow year-round E15 and further reduce emissions.”

“We applaud Gov. Parson for joining many of his Midwest peers in a multi-state effort to permanently open the market to E15 and keep fuel prices lower for the region’s consumers,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “This simple regulatory solution will allow consumers in Missouri to benefit from E15’s lower cost and lower emissions throughout the year. We continue to call on other states to take similar action so that the benefits of E15 can be permanently enjoyed by drivers across the nation.”

According to a recent analysis by RFA, drivers choosing E15 saved an average of $0.30 per gallon last summer during a period of record-high gas prices. Cooper also highlighted recent research from refining sector experts that showed the action sought by the governors would impact gasoline refining costs by just 1.5 cents per gallon or less in the Midwest