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Grassroots Voice: Despite Difficult Circumstances, '08 Accomplishments List is Long
by Brian Jennings

Punishing financial conditions and PR attacks have demanded our attention and resources this year, and while we continue to tackle these pressing issues, we’d be remiss to overlook the significant accomplishments made in 2008.

Mid-level ethanol blends and blender pumps

ACE galvanized tremendous attention in support of the need to overcome the E10 blend wall when we released the encouraging results of our “Optimal Blend Study” early this year. Our finding that some vehicles may prefer blends such as E20 and E30 catalyzed additional research and enabled a PR offensive in support of mid-level blends and consumer choice.

ACE is unique in being the only ethanol organization to focus specifically on emerging markets, with much of our market development activity, by design, prioritizing mid-level blends and blender pumps. In fact, this year we had an audience with more than 1,000 petroleum marketers representing more than 10,000 gas stations in 30 states to specifically promote blender pumps and mid-level blends. In addition, we published the first and only comprehensive technical guide on blender pumps, and volume two is in the works. Petroleum marketers recognize ACE as the authority on these topics, and this will remain a top focus in 2009.

As 2008 closes, ACE continues to work toward a pathway beyond E10, working with Congress and others to tie financial support for automakers to a new base blend of E15 and more FFVs.

Winning the food-and-fuel battle that really mattered

The “food vs. fuel” question was prosecuted this summer when Texas, alleging that ethanol was the cause of high feed and food prices, sought a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The EPA examined the facts and ruled that the RFS should stand – a devastating blow to our critics.

Preparing for a low carbon energy policy

Recognizing that Congress is likely to take up legislation considering a Low Carbon Fuels Standard, ACE commissioned a study this year to examine the challenges and opportunities associated with lifecycle analysis of corn ethanol and our carbon footprint.

Expanding ethanol’s online footprint

Consumers are becoming more sophisticated about how they get information, so ACE aggressively promoted ethanol by launching several clever, informative, and interactive tools on the internet: a blog (www.ethanol.typepad.com), a calculator on the benefits of ethanol (www.ethanolfactor.org), and a social network of ethanol supporters (www.ethanolcollective.com).

Clearly the industry did some soul-searching in 2008 and ACE’s own strategic examination helped us determine that our focus moving forward will remain on overcoming the E10 blend wall, more effectively activating our broad grassroots membership, developing emerging markets for ethanol, and proactive communications.

We’re rightfully concerned about the adversity facing our industry today, but we should not disregard that we’ve won the major policy battles – and with the continued support of our grassroots members, ACE is determined to ensure we win future battles.

 
© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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