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A Busy News Day

by Joel Velasco on Oct 12, 2010

Today has been full of news relevant to the ethanol debate. The busy news cycle kicked off this morning with front-page articles in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. It then continued to build with a mid-day conference call organized by opponents of the domestic ethanol industry’s new attempt at a unified legislative proposal (policies we described last week). Here’s a quick recap of with related links. Read More

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

by Joel Velasco on Oct 08, 2010

After months of well-publicized family-feuding Congressional and industry outlets are reporting today that the nation’s powerful corn ethanol lobby has reached a consensus on key policies set to expire on December 31st – namely the $6 billion per year tax subsidy and the 54 cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol. Just in time for the lame-duck session. Read More

Nation’s Fourth Largest Ethanol Producer Says Industry No Longer Needs Tax Credit, Tariff to Survive

by Joel Velasco on Sep 27, 2010

As the prospect for a renewal of the ethanol tariff and subsidies dims, industry leaders are starting to change their rhetoric. Todd Becker, CEO of Green Plains Renewable Energy – the nation’s fourth largest ethanol producer – said Friday that his company and the industry as a whole would continue to prosper in the absence of the VEETC and the 54-cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol, both of which expire at the end of the year. Read More

New Video Provides “Animated” Look at U.S. Ethanol Policy

by Joel Velasco on Sep 22, 2010

We are excited to introduce a new video that explains how Congress could save taxpayers $6 billion per year and help lower prices at the pump. All lawmakers have to do is let 30 years of ethanol tax credits and trade protection expire on December 31. Read More

The Debate is Heating Up

by Joel Velasco on Sep 17, 2010

Congress is back from summer recess and has returned to a very crowded agenda. The ethanol policy debate is expected to jockey for attention and may well continue through the midterm elections and into Congress’ lame duck session. At issue is the interlocking system of ethanol subsidies that costs taxpayers $6 billion per year (and a total of $45 billion since 1980), along with trade barriers that limits competition and contributes to fluctuating gas prices. Read More

While You Were Recessing

by Joel Velasco on Aug 19, 2010

After a brief stint back in session for a House vote on a state budget measure, Congress has officially left town for the August recess. There might be a lull in policy activity, but it’s only expected to last another three weeks. Here’s a quick recap of recent developments that will prepare you for when the ethanol debate resumes after Labor Day. Read More

After 30 Years of Federal Subsidies, Ethanol Can Go It Alone

by Joel Velasco on Aug 12, 2010

A column I wrote for McClatchy News’ Pro/Con feature is being published in newspapers around the country today. The piece argues that after 30 years of federal subsidies and protectionist measures that waste taxpayers’ money and contribute to price volatility at the pump, ethanol is ready to stand on its own two feet. It’s time to end the subsidies and trade barriers. Interestingly, the opposing viewpoint agrees that the tariff on imported ethanol should be reduced! Read More

Leading Newspapers Call for End to Ethanol Tariff and Subsidies

by Joel Velasco on Jul 26, 2010

From inside-the-beltway to Wall Street to the heart of the farm belt, the plummet in support for ethanol subsidies and trade protection is on full display in some of the nation’s top newspapers. Recent editorials in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune — each calling for significant reform of U.S. ethanol policy — are another milestone in the groundswell of support for opening America’s renewable fuels market to real competition that will benefit consumers. Read More

A Rare Moment of Accord on the Ethanol Tariff

by Joel Velasco on Jul 23, 2010

It’s been yet another remarkable week for the debate on U.S ethanol policy, and yesterday we reached a milestone. In a rare moment of accord, all three of the world’s leading ethanol associations – Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and UNICA – now agree on at least one thing: there should be parity with ethanol subsidy and trade policy, meaning the amount of the tax credit and import tariff should be equal. Read More

Will the Real Growth Energy Please Stand Up?

by Joel Velasco on Jul 21, 2010

Last week, Growth Energy surprised everyone by announcing their “Fueling Freedom” plan – a polar shift in strategy that calls for a competitive open market for ethanol, greater consumer choice and a phasing out of government subsidies. The announcement seemed to fly in the face of their past rhetoric. This week however, it’s back to business as usual from the folks at Growth Energy. Which is it? Do they support market competition and consumer choice or not? Read More

Reality Check: Eliminating the Ethanol Tariff and Subsidies

by Joel Velasco on Jul 20, 2010

For decades, the corn ethanol lobby has been peddling in hysterics and kernel-nomics on the topic of subsidies and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. Their defenders argue that the U.S. would suffer catastrophic job losses without them, domestic biofuel production would plummet and America would become more dependent on foreign sources of energy. With all these claims bouncing back and forth, we decided it was time to get an honest assessment from an impartial expert, and thought who better to engage than a world-renowned agricultural economist from the Farm Belt. Read More

Legislative Action Moves Into High Gear

by Joel Velasco on Jul 15, 2010

The past 24 hours have been full of surprises. Most notably, Growth Energy today made a 180-degree shift in strategy. The group is now calling for an “eventual phasing out of government support” for ethanol subsidies, as well as open markets and consumer choice. Glad to see we can finally agree on something. It’s clear that the next few weeks will play a decisive role in setting future ethanol policy for America. Read More

President Obama Praises Sugarcane Ethanol

by Joel Velasco on Jul 13, 2010

In a meeting yesterday with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, President Obama discussed working together to expand trade opportunities, particularly in the area of clean energy. Obama specifically praised sugarcane ethanol, citing its success story in Brazil and potential for the hemisphere. We hope it’s a sign that the Administration is ready to remove existing trade barriers that favor oil from our enemies over clean alternatives from our long standing allies. Read More

“How Sweet It Is” – Announcing the Winner of Our 54th Goal Contest

by Joel Velasco on Jul 09, 2010

As many of you know, we’re World Cup fanatics here at Sweeter Alternative. Our other passion of course, is sugarcane ethanol. A few weeks back we found the perfect intersection of the two by launching a one of a kind contest. Today we’re thrilled to announce the Grand Prize winner. Read More

RFA: Cherry-Picking Crop Data on Capitol Hill

by Joel Velasco on Jun 28, 2010

While the Renewable Fuels Association tries to avoid competition by cherry-picking crop data, careful analysis shows that sugarcane, like corn, is experiencing considerable yield gains, producing more food, fiber and fuel on the same acre of land. Read More

Beyond the Gas Tank: Sugarcane Unlimited

by Joel Velasco on Jun 22, 2010

To realize the great potential of sugarcane in renewable applications, look no further than today’s announcement of a joint venture between Amyris, Inc. and Cosan S.A. to develop cane-based green chemicals. Beyond the gas tank, cane ethanol can replace petroleum as a raw material in a range of products – everything from plastics to cosmetics. Read More

New Interactive Map Debunks Sugarcane/Amazon Deforestation Myths

by Joel Velasco on Jun 21, 2010

Detractors of sugarcane ethanol have made misinformed and false accusations alleging that sugarcane contributes to the deforestation of the Amazon. The team is excited to unveil a new, interactive map that shows this is simply untrue. We encourage you to explore the map, find out where cane is grown and how that relates to the location of the rainforest. Read More

What Could Progressives and Conservatives Possibly Agree On? (Hint: Changing U.S. Ethanol Policy)

by Joel Velasco on Jun 15, 2010

These days in DC, it’s tough to get Progressives and Conservatives to agree on anything. Open up today’s Washington Times, however, and you’ll find that both ends of the ideological spectrum may have found common ground in calling for a change in U.S. ethanol policy. Read More

Sugarcane Ethanol Fuels World Cup Fever

by Joel Velasco on Jun 15, 2010

Washington D.C. area residents were treated to a special World Cup experience last Saturday with the first ever Dupont Festival: Soccer in the Circle. The Sweeter Alternative team was thrilled to help sponsor this celebration of the beautiful game in the heart of the city. Thousands of fans braved oppressive heat to enjoy the games and win great prizes. Read More

DC Gas Discount: Signed, Sealed, Delivered...

by Joel Velasco on Jun 03, 2010

Despite an 11th hour cancellation of our discounted gas event last week, we were able to honor our commitment to lower prices by offering a gas card giveaway to DC drivers. The response was overwhelming, and today we sealed the deal! Read More

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