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A Sweeter Alternative

Start Your Engines, America!

by Joel Velasco on May 27, 2010

Fans of IndyCar and biofuels spent the week gearing up for Sunday's Indianapolis 500. On Wednesday, over 150 Indianapolis motorists were treated to a sweet deal: an 85 minute, 85 cents per gallon discount on E85 and regular gas. The lines were huge. And now we're launching new ads on national television promoting ethanol as well as welcoming Sunoco as a partner of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Read More

Setting the Record Straight

by Joel Velasco on May 26, 2010

Now that the dust is starting to settle from our on-and-off attempt to provide DC drivers with discounted fuel this week, it’s time to address some of the most egregious claims made by detractors at Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) during the past few days. I’m all for honest, spirited debate. But so many of the accusations they have lobbed at sugarcane ethanol are so far off base that they demand a rebuttal. So let me set the record straight, again. Read More

Who Killed the Gas Discount?

by Joel Velasco on May 24, 2010

You probably read here last week that we were all set-up to offer Washingtonians a 54-cent-per-gallon discount on gas tomorrow. After we hung promotional banners and were all geared up to educate drivers about sugarcane ethanol and the 54-cent-per-gallon import tariff, an unspecified “political” influence canceled our event. For DC area drivers, we were still able to honor our commitment to lower gas prices by offering a gas card giveaway. The response was overwhelming. Read More

RFA Living in a Field of Dreams When it Comes to Ethanol Exports

by Joel Velasco on May 21, 2010

In the classic baseball film “Field of Dreams,” farmer Ray Kinsella builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field after hearing voices in his head that told him to do it. At one point in the movie he says of his project, “I have just created something totally illogical.” The same could be said for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). In a statement issued April 6, 2010, the organization said “Vacillating regulations regarding Brazil’s trade policy as well its domestic consumption of ethanol make it impossible for foreign ethanol producers to even consider exporting product into Brazilian markets.” Read More

Helping DC Drivers Save Money at the Pump this Memorial Day

by Joel Velasco on May 17, 2010

To draw attention to a hidden tax on American drivers and help make summer vacation a little more affordable, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association will offer Washington-area drivers a discount of $0.54 per gallon off the price of gasoline at two Capitol Hill stations. In honor of Memorial Day, we’ll double the discount for military personnel who can show a military ID Read More

Surging U.S. Corn Ethanol Exports Signal an Industry Ready to Compete

by Joel Velasco on May 14, 2010

The case for continued subsidies and trade protections for the corn ethanol industry is running on empty. Let’s recap some recent analysis about the U.S ethanol industry, which I remind you is the world’s largest, producing more than 12 billion gallons of corn ethanol annually. Read More

Defending California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

by Joel Velasco on May 07, 2010

Did you know that nearly one in every seven U.S. cars is driven in California? That is staggering. As the largest state in the country with one of the highest carbon intensities in the world, California has gone to great lengths to reduce the environmental impact of their driving public – and they have every right to. Read More

Real Talk on ABC News "This Week"

by Joel Velasco on May 04, 2010

If you watched ABC News “This Week” on Sunday, you may have seen the exchange between comedian Bill Maher and George Will regarding Brazil’s oil consumption and use of ethanol. The web has been chattering in response, with some judging Maher’s statement that “Brazil got off oil in the last 30 years” to be false. I respectfully suggest he deserves at least a half true rating given the significant strides Brazil has made reducing its gasoline consumption. Read More

Opposition to the Import Tariff Grows

by Joel Velasco on Apr 30, 2010

Earlier this week, in their article “Taking Biofuels to the Next Level,” the Center for American Progress called for phasing down the tariff on imported ethanol. Today the chorus of voices swells to include the major livestock, poultry and meat producers in the U.S. Read More

Obama Visits Corn Ethanol Plant While Progressive Democrats Call for Import Tariff Phase Down

by Joel Velasco on Apr 28, 2010

President Obama visited a corn ethanol plant in Missouri but was vague on continuing the 30-year history of subsidies and trade protection for ethanol. He did, however, suggest that U.S. biofuels have to be competitive on a global basis. Amen to that! Read More

Cane’s Contribution to a Sustainable Planet

by Joel Velasco on Apr 22, 2010

Forty years ago, our planet began celebrating Earth Day. This day has come to symbolize the struggle we face to protect our natural resources while ensuring a sustainable path for the planet’s continued development. The modern environmental movement may have been born on college campuses, but its benefits now permeate the globe, including in the Brazilian sugarcane industry. Read More

Let's Do the Math

by Joel Velasco on Apr 15, 2010

You may have seen today's news release from the Renewable Fuels Association criticizing some of the economic data on this site and claiming that corn ethanol is less expensive than sugarcane ethanol. I just sent RFA a detailed reply addressing each of their claims – which I’m posting online. Read More

On Ethanol Subsidies

by Joel Velasco on Apr 15, 2010

Today I addressed ludicrous claims by the corn ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy about the Brazilian ethanol industry. People love to criticize subsidies as all bad. That is not necessarily the case. The problem is when the subsidy spigot is not turned off after its done its job. Read More

Ground Rules

by Joel Velasco on Apr 11, 2010

Welcome to the Sweeter Alternative Blog. In my first post, I’d like to set some guiding principles for this blog that I hope will make it – as the title suggests – a sweeter alternative to the current energy debate in Washington. Read More

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