The word “ethanol” has been taken on a rollercoaster ride over the past several decades.
Ethanol really began its time in our vocabulary as a very positive word. It was originally associated with value-added agriculture, saving the family farm and stabilizing commodity prices. Hundreds of articles were written about the positive aspects of the ethanol industry, and in the Midwest, politicians were literally elected based on their support of value-added agriculture and ethanol.
Then, the Oil Industry decided to change the game. They began to fund surrogate organizations and nationwide campaigns to tarnish the ethanol name by pushing the food vs. fuel argument and several other myths.
Let’s face the facts: The Oil Industry has done a pretty good job of damaging ethanol’s once shining reputation. And they did it all for selfish reasons — market share and profit.
We need to work hard to change this false narrative. The state of our nation’s ag industry, our environment and our national security depends on it.
The message we need to communicate loud and clear to citizens and policymakers is that biofuels from the earth are good for consumers, farmers and our world — not to mention the numerous benefits biofuels provide for energy security, jobs, the economy and so many more.
The good news? We are making progress.
Today, our efforts continue on several fronts, from work being done on Capitol Hill to pass a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) solution for E15; to expanding consumer choice through Prime the Pump; to connecting with consumers in target markets to broaden our base of support.
But we need to do more.
As an industry, we need to continue to make sure gasoline retailers are successful in their efforts to market higher blends. Those retailers are crucial in achieving our goal of delivering those blends into the marketplace. As you know, the rollout of higher blends means greater demand for agricultural feedstocks like corn and, most recently, agricultural residues. With the current crisis facing agriculture, we desperately need biofuels in a larger percentage of Americans’ gas tanks.
So how do we get there?
It starts with your neighbors, your coworkers and your friends making the right choice at the pump to fill up with higher blends. For them to make that decision, we know a strong understanding of biofuels plays a critical role.
Over the past year at POET and Growth Energy, we’ve better concentrated our messaging to reach more key consumer audiences. Our message targets how biofuels improve engine performance, deliver environmental and health benefits, and provide cost-savings for drivers — all themes we know resonate with consumers across the U.S.
And we know this strategy is working. Our success with Prime the Pump validates our approach. We continue to watch dozens of major retailers across the U.S. commit to selling E15. Our efforts are paying off in dividends! At the end of 2015, we had just under 100 stores selling E15. As of May 2017, we have E15 at every pump in more than 800 locations in 29 states! (Read more about Prime the Pump in our new section in this issue.)
But our work doesn’t stop there. We need your help to continue setting the record straight on biofuels. You need to only glance at today’s headlines to know how critical our efforts really are. Now is the time to let our voices be heard at the state level and in Washington, D.C. The ag crisis isn’t going away. We must act before it’s too late!
See the Policy Corner for talking points about biofuels to share with your friends and neighbors.
Editor’s Note: Our redesigned issue of Vital includes several new features to keep you informed of industry news, including a Policy Corner, Prime the Pump section and Get Grounded in the Facts section, which addresses a different topic each issue to arm you with facts about hot topics across the industry. Also check out more content here online at our new Vitalbypoet.com website.