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Sugarcane Ethanol in the News

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January 21, 2011

Brazil steps up WTO measures in currency war (Reuters)

Prompted by an escalating global currency war, Brazil is preparing to challenge U.S. ethanol aid and EU beef import barriers in the World Trade Organization, industry and government sources said on Friday.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

January 19, 2011

Industry refutes calls for import tariff intervention (Ethanol Producer Magazine)

The Renewable Fuels Association and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are taking an aggressive stance against threats from UNICA, Brazil’s sugarcane industry association, that it will pursue World Trade Organization intervention regarding the U.S. import tariff on ethanol. UNICA has disputed the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff for years and said in December that if the tariff was not allowed to expire at the end of 2010 it would urge the Brazilian government to immediately initiate dispute settlement proceedings at the WTO. On Jan. 10, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., met with Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff to discuss regional security and trade after which McCain told reporters he believes the WTO would rule against the U.S. “because it’s clearly a subsidy that is neither warranted, nor in keeping with WTO regulations.”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

January 17, 2011

Climate Capitalism and Biofuels Ready to Break Out in 2011 (Triple Pundit)

Brazil, in contrast to the U.S., derives most of its biofuels from more sustainably harvested sugarcane fields. UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, reports that only 2% of Brazil’s arable land is used for ethanol production. Furthermore, the mechanization of the industry has reduced its need to burn its waste biomass and instead turns its basgasse and other biomass into energy resulting in a nearly closed-loop system. Most ethanol production facilities produce all their own energy. Brazil’s ethanol industry represents 35% of the total global production of biofuels. Brazil’s transport sector has made a massive shift to biofuels and flex-fuel cars which can operate on a range of ethanol intensity up to 100% pure ethanol (B100). This transformation, with more than 10 million flex fuel vehicles on the road in Brazil, has led to an estimated 600 million tons of CO2 reduction from the transport sector in Brazil, while creating a multi-billion dollar opportunity for climate capitalists.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Environmental Benefits

January 13, 2011

Tempers Mount in Tariff Tiff (DomesticFuel.com)

Before the ink was dry extending the 54 cent ethanol tariff for one more year, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) threatened to take the legality of the ethanol tariff to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Now several U.S. senators are embroiled in the debate including John McCain (R-AZ) and John Barrasso (R-WY) who said earlier this week that the extension on ethanol imports in likely illegal under international trade rules. While the senators didn’t out and out lend support to UNICA, indirectly some believe that their support is there.

“I believe the WTO would rule against the United States because it’s clearly a subsidy that is neither warranted nor in keeping with WTO regulations,” Senator McCain of Arizona told reporters after a meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

December 09, 2010

Future of US Ethanol Subsidy, Import Tax under Review (ICTSD)

The draft bill has also raised concerns in ethanol exporting countries, Brazil in particular. “Rather than lowering prices at the pump for Americans with access to cleaner, more affordable alternatives like sugarcane ethanol, the US is intent on starting a trade war with Brazil - a long-time democratic ally,” Joel Velasco, Chief Representative of North America’s Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association ( UNICA), said on 7 December.

In an official statement, UNICA warns that if the US doubles the import tax on ethanol, Brazil might initiate dispute settlement proceedings at the World Trade Organization (WTO). “The U.S lost its first battle over cotton subsidies earlier this year - and will lose again on ethanol,” Joel Velasco warned.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

December 08, 2010

UNICA threatens WTO intervention over tariff (Ethanol Producer)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, UNICA, said it will encourage the Brazilian government to initiate dispute settlement proceedings at the World Trade Organization if currently proposed legislation to continue the ethanol import tariff passes the U.S. Congress.

While final details are yet to become available, it is believed that the tax extension package currently being finalized in the U.S. Senate contains language that would continue the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Ethanol Credit at a rate of 36 cents per gallon and would also continue the ethanol import tariff at its current rate of 54 cents per gallon. Joel Velasco, UNICA’s chief representative in North America, said this would essentially double the import tariff, making it impossible for Brazilian exports to enter the U.S. market. “The stated rationale for the ethanol import tariff has always been to offset the blenders’ tax credit and prevent Americans from subsidizing foreign energy production,” he said. “This move would transform it from an offset to a punitive trade barrier.”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Unica lashes out on proposed ethanol tax cut bill (EcoSeed)

The legislation seeks to extend the existing Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit to 2011 and reduce it to 36 cents per gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline from the original subsidy of 45 cents. It will also continue the tariff on imported ethanol, which is currently rated at 54 cents per gallon.

However, Unica warned of the economic repercussions of the legislation to the current trade conflict between Brazil and the United States on ethanol.

Joel Velasco, Unica’s chief representative in North America, said the bill will make import tariff a trade barrier rather than an offset to the subsidy for local ethanol, which will prevent the country from subsidizing foreign producers.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

December 07, 2010

US subsidies for ethanol an issue in tax talks (Reuters)

Brazil, the world's second largest ethanol producer, has pushed for the United States to eliminate the tariff and business groups said Brazil may file a World Trade Organization complaint if the United States imposed a tariff on ethanol imports that was significantly higher than the domestic support rate.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

December 06, 2010

Lower ethanol blenders credit proposed (Feedstuffs)

Brazil's sugarcane industry association UNICA criticized the proposal and especially took aim at the lack of parity between the blenders credit and the export tariff. Historically, the export credit offsets the blenders tax credit so America does not subsidize foreign ethanol producers.

Joel Velasco, UNICA's chief representative in North America, said Congress is trying to change the "rules by making the tariff a true trade barrier rather than a subsidy offset." He added, "The ethanol import tariff shouldn't exist at all, but if it must, the tariff should be a direct offset of the tax credit that protects Americans from subsidizing foreign production, not a punitive trade barrier."

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

December 03, 2010

Clean Energy Options Land in Tax Package (National Journal Daily)

There has been a groundswell of opposition to the ethanol credits in the past week. A group of 17 senators -- made up almost evenly of Democrats and Republicans -- sent a letter to leadership noting their opposition to extending the credits. And 53 groups, ranging from environmental to tea party interests, also sent a letter this week in opposition.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), which represents that country's ethanol industry, also opposes extending the credits. But if the credit is extended, the group would prefer that the import tariff be extended at the same level. But Baucus’ bill keeps the tariff at the same level: 54 cents taxed onto each gallon of imported ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

November 23, 2010

Al Gore: I Used To Be A Cornaholic (Change.org)

It's no secret why taxpayers are still shelling out billions of dollars to the ripened corn-ethanol industry: the Big Corn lobby. Just as oil state senators defended BP during the height of the spill, lawmakers in heavy Ag states are similarly beholden-at-all-costs to the powerful farm interests who get them elected.

But for a politician to admit this? That is a rare moment of candor.

Article tags: Environmental Benefits

November 18, 2010

Brazil Ethanol Looks to Sweeten More Gas Tanks (National Geographic)

Brazil, which has done more than any other nation to displace oil with ethanol, is poised as never before to ramp up production of its sugarcane-based fuel and, it hopes, to market its “sweeter alternative” around the world.

Brightening Brazil’s prospects to solidify its position as world biofuel powerhouse are billions of dollars of new foreign investment and the possible fall of a long-standing trade barrier in the United States, a huge potential market.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Environmental Benefits

October 19, 2010

Time For Market Competition (National Journal)

The best thing President Obama and Congress could do for ethanol policy this year is nothing. By allowing 30 years of ethanol subsidies and trade protection to expire as scheduled on December 31st, government leaders will be helping to lower fuel prices, save taxpayers money and provide Americans with greater access to advanced renewable fuels like sugarcane ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

October 14, 2010

EPA announces voluntary boost to ethanol blend in gasoline (Climate Progress)

After eighteen months of review, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it is willing to approve higher blends of ethanol in newer vehicles, but will conduct ongoing testing to assess whether such a boost in ethanol blends is appropriate for 2006 model or earlier cars and trucks.

Today’s EPA decision is the correct one. The partial approval of higher ethanol blends is based on test results in newer vehicles and provides some much needed breathing room to allow producers, refiners, and consumers the option to blend more ethanol with gasoline and reduce our dependence on oil in the transportation sector.

But, we also need to stay focused on the other big factors governing ethanol policy in the United States.

Article tags: Energy Diversity

Brazilian sugarcane group calls on Congress to end ethanol tax credits (The Hill)

The Obama administration's decision to increase ethanol limits for newer vehicles has prompted the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) to call for an end to tax credits used by domestic companies.

"Many U.S. ethanol groups have argued recently that after 30 years of tax credits and trade protections they are ready to compete without subsidies provided the government grants them greater access to America's fuel pumps. With the EPA's decision to increase ethanol limits by 50 percent for newer vehicles that day has arrived," said UNICA chief representative in North America Joel Velasco, in prepared remarks.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

October 13, 2010

Brazilians suggest end to U.S. ethanol subsidies (The Des Moines Register)

A spokesman for Brazilian ethanol maker Unica responded to the decision Wednesday by the Environmental Protectional Agency to approve a 15 percent blend for ethanol with regular unleaded gasoline by suggesting such approval should trigger an end to the 45-cent per gallon subsidy for blenders of ethanol in the U.S.

Joel Velasco of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) said  “many U.S. ethanol groups have argued recently that after 30 years of tax credits and trade protection they are ready to compete without subsidies provided the government grants them greater access to America’s fuel pumps. With the EPA’s decision to increase ethanol limits by 50% for newer vehicles, that day has arrived.”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

ACE, NCGA, UNICA React to EPA’s E15 Decision (DOMESTICFUEL.com)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) has been watching the move to E15 very closely and North American Chief Representative Joel Velasco commented, “Many U.S. ethanol groups have argued recently that after 30 years of tax credits and trade protection they are ready to compete without subsidies provided the government grants them greater access to America’s fuel pumps. With the EPA’s decision to increase ethanol limits by 50% for newer vehicles, that day has arrived.”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

October 11, 2010

Clock Ticking Down on U.S. Ethanol Subsidies (The NewYork Times)

Unica, a Brazilian trade body whose members are responsible for about 50 percent of the ethanol produced in the country, has been campaigning heavily, including a video, “All I Need to Know About U.S. Ethanol Subsidies,” which says that ethanol policies have cost American taxpayers $6 billion a year and have consumed $45 billion since 1980.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

September 29, 2010

Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Takes Aim at U.S. Ethanol Policy with Clever PR Campaign (Ecopolitology)

Like when I recently clicked on an ad with a map of the 50 U.S. states inviting me to see editorials written by local newspapers in support of letting the ethanol tax credit expire at the end of 2010. I clicked on a handful of the states and read a few editorials. And while I thought this seemed to be a good strategy for any broad public policy campaign, I was most struck that the website where this handy little tool for learning about opposition to the federal ethanol subsidy resided was unabashedly owned and operated by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

September 22, 2010

Congress -- It's Easy to Save Taxpayers $6 Billion -- Cut Fuel Costs (The Huffington Post)

I am excited to share a new, brief 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 the full release here.

Current U.S. ethanol policies include an interlocking system of subsidies and tariffs that cost taxpayers $6 billion per year (and a total of $45 billion since 1980), contribute to fluctuating gas prices and make sugarcane ethanol practically unavailable in the U.S. The video helps demystify these policies, explains the environmental, economic and energy security benefits of greater competition in the biofuels sector and debunks a number of myths promoted by defenders of the status quo.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

September 08, 2010

Money May Not Grow On Trees, But It's Piling Up In Corn Fields (Change.org)

In an ironic twist of fate, it may be that the biggest way Congress helps the environment this year is by doing exactly what it does best. That's right: nothing.

Forget this business of passing bills. We don't even need Republicans to waste their breath threatening a filibuster. All lawmakers have to do is sit back, relax and even wave their fist if they really can't resist. Still, they will have given environmentalists at least one reason to ring in a happy new year.

Join Sweeter Alternative in signing this petition to tell your representatives to sit back and relax this December: Let the corn ethanol tax credit expire and the import tariff as well. Some may fight to actually extend these policies for a year or even 5 years, and we'll need to—for once–urge Congress to do nothing.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Environmental Benefits

Agri-Pulse Open Mic with Joel Velasco (Agri-Pulse)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association's (UNICA) Chief North American Representative joins us this week on Open Mic to make the case for substantial changes in U.S. government support for corn-based ethanol. Joel Velasco responds to criticism of Brazilian subsidies for sugar-based ethanol and tackles concerns that biofuel production in Brazil will accelerate deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. As EPA prepares to decide whether to allow E15, Velasco talks about Brazil's acceptance of mid-level blends, and he also puts Brazilian interest in U.S. ethanol policy in a larger bilateral context.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

September 02, 2010

Energy in Brazil: Ethanol's mid-life crisis (The Economist)

The sugar industry produces food, fuel and environmental benefits. How fast it grows may depend on an argument about how it should be regulated.

It is what passes for a winter’s day in upstate São Paulo. The sun is blazing from a blue sky feathered lightly with cirrus cloud. In a large, sloping field overlooking the city of Piracicaba, a mechanical harvester chomps through a stand of three-metre-high sugar cane, fat and juicy from months of sunshine. The harvester slices the cane into 20cm chunks and regurgitates them into a 30-tonne trailer moving alongside that will lug them a few kilometres to the Costa Pinto mill. There the cane is weighed, washed, tipped onto a conveyor belt, crushed and then, depending on market conditions, crystallised into sugar or distilled into ethanol. The woody residue—the bagaço—is burned in two high-pressure boilers that, according to the flickering needle in the control room, are supplying around 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the local grid—enough to power half of Piracicaba.

Sugar has been grown in Brazil for 500 years, and the country is by far the world’s biggest exporter of it. But sugar now also forms the nucleus of a new agro-industrial and renewable-energy complex. Biofuels, mainly derived from sugar, are Brazil’s most important source of energy after oil. For a unit of energy, the production and use of sugar-based ethanol generates only two-fifths of the carbon emissions of petrol, and half those of corn-based ethanol, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. And bioplastics made from sugar cane are poised to move from the laboratory to the corner store, with the launch of soft-drink bottles.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

August 31, 2010

After 30 Years of Federal Subsidies and Tariffs, Ethanol Can Go It Alone (The Huffington Post)

Corn-based ethanol has been America's leading biofuel for more than 30 years and has blossomed into a thriving business. American farms and refineries now generate half of all ethanol produced around the globe.

Despite being a mature and profitable industry, corn ethanol producers are lobbying hard to extend perks they have enjoyed for three decades. The debate is heating up on Capitol Hill because the two main subsidies - a tax credit for blending ethanol with gasoline and an import tax on foreign ethanol, particularly Brazilian sugarcane ethanol - expire at the end of the year.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

August 19, 2010

The Ethanol Industry and Competition (OpenMarket.org)

These are curious definitions of “competition,” and “open market.” Imagine I were to bake some bread that consumers didn’t enjoy as much as I had hoped.

(1) Then I took advantage of a government law which required consumers to include my bread in about 10-15 percent of their total bread consumption per year.

(2) Then I convinced the government to shell out money for each loaf of bread I produced to encourage grocers to stock my bread.

(3) And I convinced the government to forbid imports from foreign companies who bake bread similar to mine at a lower cost.

(4) Now I want the government to spend money making it easier for me to get my bread to its final sale point.

After all of this, finally my bread can compete fairly with other breads on the market. See how that works? Now replace bread with ethanol and grocers with gasoline stations. This is the ethanol industry.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

August 12, 2010

Sugarcane seen as major next-gen fuel source (Des Moines Register)

Brazil has the potential to be a powerhouse in next-generation biofuels, just as it is with today’s version of fuel ethanol, according to an article published by the journal Science.

Joel Velasco, the North American representative for Unica, the trade group that represents the Brazilian sugarcane industry, said it’s misleading to think that production could be ramped up to anywhere near 200 billion gallons.

Unica estimates production will rise to about 17 billion gallons in 2020, with about 4 billion of that shipped overseas. “The laws of economics dictate increases in agricultural crop production, not wishful thinking,” Velasco said.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

After 30 years of federal subsidies, ethanol can go it alone (McClatchy-Tribune News Service)

Despite being a mature and profitable industry, corn ethanol producers are lobbying hard to extend perks they have enjoyed for three decades. The debate is heating up on Capitol Hill because the two main subsidies - a tax credit for blending ethanol with gasoline and an import tax on foreign ethanol, particularly Brazilian sugarcane ethanol - expire at the end of the year.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

July 28, 2010

Energy Subsidies — Good and Bad (The New York Times)

Congress must soon decide whether to extend federal tax subsidies for renewable energy that expire at the end of the year. The subsidies for wind, solar and geothermal energy are necessary to give these energy sources the help they need to compete with oil, coal and natural gas. While it renews those subsidies, Congress should end tax breaks for corn ethanol, which can stand on its own and is of dubious environmental benefit.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Environmental Benefits

July 24, 2010

It's time to end the excessive subsidies for corn ethanol (The Washington Post)

When Washington starts handing out cash, it can be hard to stop. See, for example, the decades of subsidies the government has showered on the corn ethanol industry. The fuel was supposed to free America from its dependence on foreign oil and produce fewer carbon emissions in the process. It's doing some of the former and little of the latter. But corn ethanol certainly doesn't need the level of taxpayer support it's been getting. Lawmakers are considering whether to renew these expensive subsidies; they shouldn't.

The feds give companies that combine corn ethanol with gasoline a 45-cent tax subsidy for every gallon of corn ethanol added to gasoline. That's on top of a tariff on imported sugar cane ethanol from Brazil and federal mandates requiring that steadily increasing amounts of these biofuels be produced. The Congressional Budget Office this month estimated that, all told, the costs to taxpayers of replacing a gallon of gasoline with one of corn ethanol add up to $1.78. The tax incentives alone cost the Treasury $6 billion in 2009.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Ethanol subsidy renewal in doubt (The Des Moines Register Online)

Another challenge for the ethanol industry: A 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol is set to expire this fall, and the Brazilian sugarcane ethanol industry is expressing optimism Congress will cut if not eliminate it.

U.S. industry groups say the tariff should be kept at a similar rate as the domestic subsidy to offset its benefit to Brazilian producers.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

July 23, 2010

Enough ethanol (Chicago Tribune)

Congress finally is starting to recognize the high cost of filling up gas tanks with ethanol, the motor fuel made from corn. Billions of dollars in federal subsidies are on the chopping block.

It's about time. With the national debt soaring, the government needs to wean the biofuel industry from its dependence on federal subsidies. Biofuels have always sounded better during the Iowa caucuses than they have performed in reality.

Taxpayers have bankrolled biofuel research and a boom in ethanol production. Aggressive mandates have hiked the amounts of ethanol blended into the gasoline supply, and the industry is pushing for even higher levels of the corn-based fuel in each gallon. At the same time, trade barriers have kept out cheaper ethanol produced from sugar in Brazil and other countries.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Ethanol Tariff Tiff (DomesticFuel.com)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association UNICA this week drew attention to conflicting statements made in the past week by Growth Energy representatives about what they would like to see done with the tariff on foreign ethanol that is tied to the blenders tax credit under the Fueling Freedom plan introduced by the organization last week.

In a post on the blog SweeterAlternative and a YouTube video, UNICA noted apparent discrepancies between statements made by Growth Energy Co-Chairman Jeff Broin of POET and fellow co-chair Gen. Wesley Clark.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

July 22, 2010

Kinks in the Ethanol Message-Machine? (New York Times)

The ethanol industry is feverishly lobbying lawmakers in an effort to hang onto billions of dollars in subsidies that are set to expire — although there appears to be some discord on the message front.


Growth Energy, a leading ethanol industry association, threw some fuel makers for a loop last week by suggesting that they’d be wiling to trade tax credits for incentives aimed at making more cars and more gas stations ethanol-ready. But there also seems to be some lack of unity within Growth Energy itself on the topic of tariffs on imported ethanol.


The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, which naturally abhors the tariffs, was only too keen to point out the apparent discrepancy in a YouTube video published Wednesday and embedded above for your viewing pleasure.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

July 20, 2010

Ethanol boost called vital to biofuel-carrying pipeline (Des Moines Register)

Ending the subsidy would have a relatively modest impact on U.S. corn and ethanol markets next year, while saving taxpayers $6 billion, economists at Iowa State University say in a study being released this week.

Ethanol production would most likely drop by an estimated 700 million gallons - refiners are required to use at least 12.6 billion gallons in 2011 - corn prices would fall 23 cents per bushel and the price of ethanol would be 12 cents a gallon lower, the study says.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Little impact if U.S. ethanol tax breaks end: Study (Reuters)

Imports would remain at low levels if the tariff is removed, said the study by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development(CARD), and domestic output in 2011 would be 700 million gallons, or roughly 6 percent, lower than with the tax credit.

CARD said U.S. consumption of ethanol primarily is set by a 2007 law that guarantees renewable fuels a share of the motor fuel market -- 12.95 billion gallons this year and rising to 36 billion gallons from 2022, with advanced biofuels to supply 21 billion gallons of it. Ethanol production has tracked the mandate in recent years because of the economic slowdown.

Article tags: Economic Advantages

The real cost of the corn ethanol tax credit (VEETC) (NRDC Switchboard)

Last night, the House Ways and Means Committee put the brakes on discussions to extend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), a government kickback for Big Oil to buy and blend corn ethanol that they are already required to purchase under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Why? Support for this unnecessary boondoggle is shifting, which isn't surprising at a time when schoolteachers are facing layoffs, and millions of unemployed Americans are seeing their jobless benefits slashed.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

New study shows eliminating corn ethanol subsidy will save $6 billion and have little impact on U.S. ethanol production (NRDC Switchboard)

On the heels of the CBO’s sobering report last week about the massive costs and meager benefits to taxpayers of existing corn ethanol subsidies, comes a new report today from Bruce Babcock at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University examining the costs and benefits of extending today’s corn ethanol policies, including a $0.45 cent per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) paid to marketers and blenders of fuel for every gallon of ethanol blended with gasoline, regardless of environmental performance, and the $0.54 cent per gallon import tariff on foreign produced ethanol.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Study Finds “Modest” Impact to Ending Ethanol Tax Credit (Domestic Fuel)

A study conducted by Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) has determined that the impact of ending the ethanol blenders tax credit and corresponding tariff would be “modest.”

The report, Costs and Benefits to Taxpayers, Consumers, and Producers from U.S. Ethanol Policies, finds that “allowing the blender credit and tariff to expire would neither have the dramatic, adverse effect U.S. ethanol producers claim nor create the export bonanza Brazil would hope for.”

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

July 19, 2010

Study: Ending ethanol subsidy would have modest impact (Des Moines Register)

Ending the subsidy for ethanol would have a relatively modest impact on U.S. corn and ethanol markets next year, while saving taxpayers $6 billion, economists at Iowa State University say in a new study.

Ethanol production would likely drop by an estimated 700 million gallons in 2011 from the projected 13.5 billion gallons under existing policy,  if the 45-cent-per-gallon subsidy ended. Corn prices would drop 23 cents per bushel and the price of ethanol would be 12 cents a gallon lower, according to the study by ISU’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. The findings are to be posted on the CARD web site tomorrow. The study was funded by UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry group.

Another issue is the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. The ISU study said there would be no impact on U.S. producers next year if the tariff ends, citing “projected strong demand for ethanol in Brazil combined with a largely saturated U.S. ethanol market.”

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Fuel for Fighting: Big Industry Players at Odds (Roll Call)

The ethanol lobby just can’t seem to get along. The sector’s two leading groups — Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association — are prepping for a fight this week over a Congressional proposal to cut tax credits for ethanol producers. “(subscription needed)”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

July 17, 2010

Consumers are paying for federal mandate in food costs (Farm World)

Most of the factors contributing to rising meat and poultry prices in Kentucky, such as weather disruptions, currency fluctuations or energy prices, are simply out of one’s control. There’s little that most of us can do about any of it. But when one of the major factors driving up the cost of meat and poultry products is a government policy, then that’s something that can - and should - be fixed.

A 2007 Congressional mandate to divert a substantial portion of the U.S. corn crop - the chief source of food for the animals that we eat - into corn-based ethanol to be burned as fuel instead of being used as animal feed has pushed many in animal agriculture past the tipping point.

Article tags: Economic Advantages

July 16, 2010

Ethanol industry scrambles to keep incentives (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The once-popular ethanol industry is scrambling to hold onto billions of dollars in government subsidies, fighting an increasing public skepticism of the corn-based fuel and wariness from lawmakers who may divert the money to other priorities.

The industry itself can't agree on how to persuade Congress to keep the subsidies, which now come in the form of tax credits worth about $6 billion annually.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

July 14, 2010

What Role Will Sugarcane Ethanol Play in the US? (Domestic Fuel)

I have my eye on California. They are leading the way in “green” policies; yet they make it difficult for companies with “green” products to get permits. They are also in the middle of a new Governors campaign and I can’t help but wonder if a new Governor will undo or improve any of the state’s current policies. One in particular that I’m watching is the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (CARB) which is currently under fire by the petroleum industry, trucking industry and corn ethanol industry. Each of these groups has filed a lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board (ARB) over various pieces of the policy.

One organization not filing suit is the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA). To date, sugarcane ethanol has received the lowest carbon life-cycle rating of all forms of ethanol and seems to have become the ethanol darling among politicians. Recently, President Obama, who is afraid to utter the word “corn” in conjunction with ethanol, touted the benefits of sugarcane ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Tomorrow on Capitol Hill: A completely unpredictable discussion about Brazil and ethanol subsidies (Foreign Policy)

The parties also generally agree that America's agriculture industry -- which, after all, has only been around for 400 years or so -- may one day be strong enough to stand on its own, but for now is still too fragile to withstand direct competition. That explains the tariff on Brazilian ethanol producers.  This eminently sound logic doesn't thrill the Brazilians, for some reason. "It's an affront to my intelligence, and to my wallet as a taxpayer," Joel Velasco, a lobbyist for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, said in an interview.

In 2009, Brazil exported 200 million gallons of sugar ethanol to the U.S., a volume which, if continued at that rate, would amount to 6 percent of the 12 billion gallons of ethanol that will be blended into U.S. gasoline this year.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

July 05, 2010

UNICA unveils ‘Virtual Mill’, offers up-close look at the inner workings of a cane mill (Biofuels Digest)

In Brazil, UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Growers Association, unveiled its online ‘Virtual Mill,’ an interactive multimedia tool that offers a up-close look at the inner workings of a cane mill. On the Web, the Virtual Mill can be viewed on SweeterAlternative.com, the special website developed for UNICA’s efforts against the ethanol import tariff imposed by the United States which expires at the end of this year.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

July 02, 2010

Part III of Q & A with UNICA's Joel Velasco: "Cutting Through the Clutter" (Energy Boom)

In the final part of my 3-part interview with UNICA's Joel Velasco, we discuss subsidies, trade protection, tariffs, and the future of ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

UNICA creates 'virtual mill' tour (Ethanol Producer Magazine)

For those unable to make the trip to Brazil, UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, is now helping out. Since 2007, UNICA has hosted over 160 visiting groups but only 40 or 50 could make the three to four hour drive to a mill after arrival in a major city. After releasing their “Virtual Mill” tours, the trip to an ethanol mill is just a few clicks away. “The virtual mill was designed to make sure everyone has a good look at how things work,” said UNICA’s corporate communications director, Adhemar Altieri, in a statement on the virtual tour.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Ethanol Credits Have A Major Beneficiary in Big Oil Firms (Congress Daily)

BP could stand to reap federal tax credits approaching $600 million this year for blending gasoline with corn-based ethanol, making the British oil and gas giant one of the largest beneficiaries of the 45 cents-per-gallon ethanol incentive.

The credit expires Dec. 31, and the House Ways and Means Committee is preparing as early as next month to debate a "green jobs" bill eyed as a vehicle for an extension. Environmentalists are seizing on the generally low esteem the public holds for BP at the moment, with the future of the roughly $5 billion-a-year ethanol credit in the balance.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

July 01, 2010

Part II of Interview With UNICA's Joel Velasco: "Ridiculous Claims" (Energy Boom)

In this segment of my interview with UNICA's chief U.S. representative Joel Velasco, we discuss Growth Energy's claims, the politics surrounding corn and sugarcane ethanol and tariffs.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Chemistry goes green (The Economist)

That Brazilian edge worries the American biofuels industry, and highlights the final factor now boosting industrial biotech: government support. At this week’s conference, for example, America’s Department of Energy announced $24m in funding for algae-based biofuels (on top of an existing $146m). But bureaucrats can bet on the wrong technologies. Brent Erickson of Bio observes that although governments are keenly promoting biofuels, most private investment in industrial biotech is going into other, less prominent areas.

And governments are too easily pushed into protectionism. An egregious example is America’s tariff ($0.54 per gallon) on imported ethanol, to protect domestic producers of corn-based ethanol. Marcos Jank, head of Brazil’s sugarcane association, took to the conference stage in a yellow, green and blue shirt. Asked if this was to show support for his country’s football team, he turned around to reveal the back of his shirt. It bore the number 54 and the message “cutthetariff.com”.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

June 30, 2010

A Sweet Deal – Win a VIP Trip to Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma (Domestic Fuel)

The IndyCar Series is in full swing and only a week ago, the Team Ethanol IndyCar was back on track at the Iowa Indy Corn 250. But there is plenty more to look forward to this season. SweeterAlternative.com has announced a contest that will send one lucky winner and a guest to the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on August 20-22, 2010. For those of you not familiar with California, Sonoma is one of the country’s most famous places for wine.

The contest is supported by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), and this year sugarcane ethanol fuels the majority of the IZOD IndyCar races in the U.S.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Part I of Q & A With UNICA's Joel Velasco: "UNICA's Mission and the Fiery Biofuel Industry" (Energy Boom)

In the first part of my three-part interview with the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association's (UNICA) chief U.S. representative Joel Velasco, we talk about his background, UNICA's mission, and why the biofuel industry is a fiery sector.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

June 28, 2010

Bay-area beauty: The joy of racing in California wine country (Pop Off Valve)

The reality is that Infineon Raceway has struggled to fill the facility from the first year that the IZOD IndyCar Series raced there. For me, that's a real shame because of my fondness for the place - both as an observer and as a driver. And that's why I'm taking the folks at the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association up on their request to publicize their contest.

See, Randy Bernard has said that venues that don't perform will end up being excised from the IndyCar schedule. If Infineon Raceway cannot bring their attendance up, it's likely that it will be one of those events dropped. That would be a shame... at least to me.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

June 24, 2010

As Ethanol Booms, Critics Warn of Environmental Effect (The New York Times)

SAN FRANCISCO — Scrambling to find a silver lining to the dark cloud of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, ethanol advocacy groups are pressing for more government support for the biofuel industry, with advertising campaigns targeted at lawmakers in Washington.

One group, Growth Energy, has blanketed the Metro subway station closest to the U.S. Capitol with ads that send a pointed message: “No beaches have been closed due to ethanol spills,” they read, calling ethanol “America’s clean fuel.”

But is it?

There has been hot debate about whether carbon emissions from ethanol production and use are lower than those from oil and whether the 33 percent of the U.S. corn crop diverted to ethanol drives up the price of food. Local effects of ethanol production, however, including water pollution and consumption, have received less scrutiny.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

NRDC and others slam ethanol tax credit giveaway to oil in new ad (NRDC Switchboard)

Everyone who thinks Big Oil should get $31 billion from U.S. taxpayers, please sign on the dotted line. That’s the message of a new ad running today in Congress Daily sponsored by NRDC, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Friends of the Earth and the Clean Air Task Force. The ad highlights the wastefulness and redundancy of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), which amounts to little more than a massive government bribe to oil companies to get them to buy and blend gallons of corn ethanol they are already required to purchase under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

June 22, 2010

Brazil lobbyist urges US to scrap ethanol tariff (Financial Times)

If President Barack Obama is serious about reducing US reliance on oil and moving towards cleaner energy, he should remove a tariff on imported ethanol that protects the US maize-based industry and locks out sugarcane-based ethanol, according to Marcos Jank, president of the Brazilian sugarcane industry association.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

June 16, 2010

Brazil Refutes Claims of Ethanol Sales to Iran (Domestic Fuel)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is refuting a claim made by Growth Energy co-chairman Gen. Wesley Clark that they have agreed to sell ethanol to Iran. Clark made that statement in an address at the 2010 Fuel Ethanol Workshop this week and in an interview with Domestic Fuel.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

June 14, 2010

Ending the ethanol experiment: Government protection of producers should cease (Washington Times)

Despite visits to both the Bush and Obama administrations, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's request to end the U.S. tariff on Brazilian ethanol has fallen on deaf ears. Mr. Lula might be in luck - the tariff is set to expire at the end of 2010, and current congressional gridlock could prevent its extension. Supporters of sensible U.S. trade policy can only hope that happens.

Ethanol represents a small percentage of the total U.S. fuel supply. Because of federal mandates, most gasoline purchased today is actually a mixture of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, E10. Ethanol has been unable to prove itself as an efficient form of renewable energy, though it may perhaps play an important role in our nation's future energy supply.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

June 04, 2010

Group gets approval for showing World Cup matches in Dupont Circle (Washington Post Online)

The Dupont Festival is collecting on pledges that total the $20,000 needed to show three matches on June 12, said organizer Aaron DeNu.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, which is hosting smaller World Cup viewing parties, contributed $10,000. Joel Velasco, the Brazilian group's North American representative, said it thought the Dupont Festival "was well worth the investment for a very exciting party that only happens every four years."

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

May 30, 2010

Brazil Revs Up Sugarcane Ethanol Campaign at Indy 500 (Domestic Fuel)

Indy car drivers from several countries extolled the virtues of sugarcane ethanol from Brazil in ads that aired during the telecast of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

May 28, 2010

Washington ethanol offer scrapped (United Press International Website)

A Memorial Day discount of 54 cent-a-gallon on ethanol planned by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association in the U.S. capital was scrapped due to unspecified "political" influences, the industry group said.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

May 27, 2010

The Politics of Ethanol (CSPNet.com)

Capitol Petroleum cancels Brazilian sugarcane group's promotion.

One week after approving the event and less than 24 hours after allowing promotional banners to be hung on its property, Capitol Petroleum Group (CPG) canceled plans by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) to offer Washington, D.C.-area residents a discount of 54 cents per gallon on gasoline purchased at two Exxon stations on Capitol Hill.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Car Power: Castroneves Sings As Sunoco Signs With IRL (NY Sports Journalism Website)

Three-time Indy 500 and Dancing with the Stars winner Helio Castroneves stars in a campaign for UNICA, which in 2011 will be joined by Sunoco as the official supplier of ethanol fuel for the IRL and IZOD Racing Series.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Sunoco to Become Official Fuel of Indy Racing League in 2011 (News Blaze)

Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE: SUN) said today that it has signed an agreement with Indy Racing League to become the Official Fuel of the Indy Racing League, IZOD Indy Car Series and Firestone Indy Lights/Road to Indy beginning in 2011 and running through 2014.

A world leader in the manufacture and sale of racing fuels, Sunoco will team with APEX-Brasil and UNICA to promote these racing series, which run almost exclusively on ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Sunoco to sponsor Indy Racing League, already official fuel of NASCAR (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Sunoco Inc. said Thursday it has signed an agreement with Indy Racing League to become the official fuel of the league, the Izod Indy Car Series and Firestone Indy Lights/Road to Indy starting next year and running through 2014.

The Philadelphia-based oil refiner and gasoline retailer will team with APEX-Brasil and UNICA to promote the racing series, which runs almost exclusively on ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

May 26, 2010

He Said, She Said – The Debate on Ethanol Tariffs (Domestic Fuel )

The debate rages on between the Renewable Fuels Association and the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) over whose fuel is better for America. Ultimately, UNICA wants in and RFA wants them out.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

E85 promotions offered at three locations (Ethanol Producer Magazine)

Two organizations are sponsoring E85 promotions this week, selling the cleaner burning fuel for 85 cents a gallon at locations in Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

One of those events is sponsored by UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, which recently announced one of its planned promotions had been cancelled due to unspecified political reasons. This promotion has been in the works for months and has nothing to do with the one that was cancelled, said Leticia Phillips, a government and institutional relations employee for UNICA.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

UNICA launches gasoline discount card giveaway; ethanol war over free markets or access to ethanol credit (Biofuels Digest)

Washington, the undeclared trade war between Brazil and the US over the ethanol tariff heated up again yesterday with UNICA’s US head Joel Velasco reporting that “I’ve been told by my staff that there are three security guards at the Exxon stations on Capitol Hill to make sure that no one tries to sell discounted gas. Before and after pictures can be viewed here.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Sugarcane Deal Turns Sour (Roll Call Online)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, or UNICA, had planned a sweet deal Tuesday for people filling their tanks at two Capitol Hill Exxon stations: a discount of 54 cents per gallon of gasoline. But that was before the Capitol Petroleum Group canceled the event just days before it was supposed to go forward.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

May 25, 2010

DC Gas Discount Goes Awry (ABC 7 News)

A big discount on gas was supposed to make a political point and be a treat for District drivers, but it didn't go as planned.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

Brazil offers DC drivers Gasoline Discount to showcase Ethanol Tariff [Cancelled] (Awesome DC)

We usually try not to cover the DC politics, but we need to make an exception for one of our recent posts over the weekend on Brazil offering DC drivers Gasoline Discount.

Just hours prior to Tuesday’s Capitol Hill event, The Capitol Petroleum Group abruptly cancelled pre-approved plans by the The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) to offer DC-area residents a discount of 54-cents per gallon on gasoline purchased at two Exxon stations on Capitol Hill.

A company representative, citing unspecified “political” reasons, suddenly ended UNICA’s plans to help DC drivers keep a little extra money in their pockets for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

Brazilian ethanol promotional event cancelled (Ethanol Producer Magazine )

It isn’t clear exactly who or how, but a promotional event to promote Brazilian ethanol and call attention to the 54 cent tariff was abruptly canceled a week before it was scheduled to occur.

UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, had planned to give Washington-area residents a discount of 54 cents per gallon on Memorial Day at two Exxon stations on Capitol Hill. The event was cancelled one week after it was approved by Capitol Petroleum Group and less than 24 hours after the company approved the hanging of promotional banners on its property. A Capitol Petroleum Group representative told UNICA the plug was pulled due to “unspecified political reasons,” UNICA said.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

Exxon Backs Down on D.C. Ethanol Discount Sponsored by UNICA (DTN)

A planned promotion by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, or UNICA, to sell ethanol-blended gasoline for a 54-cent discount at two Capitol Hill Exxon stations Wednesday was canceled by Exxon

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

D.C. Gasoline Discount Event Canceled for 'Political Reasons' (The Huffington Post)

Bad news for Memorial Day weekend road-trippers: a 54 cents per gallon gasoline discount planned at two Capitol Hill Exxon stations for today has been canceled due to unspecified "political reasons."

In an effort to draw attention to a tariff on imported ethanol, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) scheduled a one-day gasoline discount at two stations on Capitol Hill to provide local residents a preview of how Americans across the country could save money at the pump if Congress ends this import tax later this year. The tariff, UNICA believes, strongly incentivizes American ethanol, which eliminates market competition and allows American ethanol providers to jack up their prices.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

May 24, 2010

Brazil Ethanol Gas Discount Promo Canceled (Domestic Fuel )

The Brazilian ethanol industry’s planned promotional event in Washington D.C. has been abruptly canceled, according to a news release.

One week after approving the event and less than 24 hours after allowing promotional banners to be hung on its property, Capitol Petroleum Group canceled plans by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) to offer Washington-area residents a discount of 54 cents per gallon on gasoline purchased at two Exxon stations on Capitol Hill. A company representative, citing unspecified “political” reasons, abruptly ended UNICA’s plans to help DC drivers keep a little extra money in their pockets for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

Outlook: Oil Liability Focus of Hearings (National Journal)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association will be at two Capitol Hill gas stations to educate consumers about the "benefits of sugarcane ethanol" and offer gas at a discounted price. (7 a.m., House side: Exxon gas station, 339 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; and Senate side: Exxon gas station, 200 Massachusetts Ave., NE)

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

Tax incentive extension remains hot topic (Ethanol Producer Magazine)

The issue of whether to extend the tariff on imported ethanol has received a lot of attention. In early April, the Brazilian government temporarily dropped the country’s 20 percent tariff on imported ethanol until the end of 2011. UNICA, Sugarcane Industry Association of Brazil, has made no secret of the fact that it would like to see the U.S. drop its import tariff. The association has said it plans to petition the Brazilian government to permanently drop the tariff if the U.S. does the same. “Consumers win when industries compete,” said Joel Valasco, UNICA’s chief representative for North America. “Brazilian ethanol producers are willing to compete for consumers. What about American producers?”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Poet, Growth Energy launch TV ad campaigns (Ethanol Producer Magazine)

In April, UNICA started a national ethanol awareness campaign aimed at explaining sugarcane ethanol’s benefits. The educational efforts include a new Web site, www.SweeterAlternative.com, along with print and radio advertisements, new research on sugarcane ethanol, and a partnership between UNICA and the Indy Racing League. The Brazilian campaign costs “less than one-tenth” of Growth Energy’s efforts, according to James Hill, a UNICA spokesman, and will feature ads in publications such as Roll Call, National Journal, Congressional Quarterly and Politico throughout the month of April. The ads depict the Capitol building overlaid by a sugarcane field and a fuel dispenser nozzle, saying “It’s time to raise a little ‘sugar’ cane.” Hill notes that the largest portion of UNICA’s initiative is the Web site which features descriptive sections on the energy security, economic and environmental benefits of sugarcane-based ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

May 23, 2010

Ethanol exports rise, even to Mideast (Des Moines Register)

Joel Velasco, the Brazilian sugarcane industry's representative in Washington, said in a recent blog post that the exports show U.S. producers can compete without subsidies and import tariffs.

"The corn ethanol industry is well on the way to becoming the world's top exporter," Velasco wrote. "And yet, defying all logic, they maintain that they need more subsidies and trade barriers, because they will be decimated if they are forced to compete - with a higher-priced ethanol, no less."

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

May 22, 2010

Brazil offers DC drivers Gasoline Discount to showcase Ethanol Tariff (Awesome DC)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) will offer Washington, DC-area Washington-area drivers a discount of $0.54 per gallon off the price of gasoline at two Capitol Hill stations, “to draw attention to a hidden tax on American drivers and help make summer vacation a little more affordable”.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

May 21, 2010

Brazil Ethanol Lobbies DC With Gas Discount (Domestic Fuel)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is discounting gasoline by 54 cents per gallon on the Tuesday before Memorial Day at two Capitol Hill gas stations to draw attention to a 54 cents per gallon tariff on imported ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

UNICA offers DC drivers $0.54 off gasoline to showcase ethanol tariff (Biofuels Digest)

In Brazil, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) announced that it will offer Washington, DC-area Washington-area drivers a discount of $0.54 per gallon off the price of gasoline at two Capitol Hill stations, “to draw attention to a hidden tax on American drivers and help make summer vacation a little more affordable”.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

UNICA blasts ethanol tariff, cites corn ethanol “maturity”, exports (Biofuels Digest)

In Brazil, Joel Velasco, writing in UNICA´s “Sweeter Alternative” energy blog, wrote that “The case for continued subsidies and trade protections for the corn ethanol industry is running on empty,” and recapped analysis from the President´s Biofuels Interagency Working Group concluding that the corn ethanol industry “is mature,” and citing data from the Department of Commerce that US ethanol exports reached 45 million gallons in March.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

May 20, 2010

Brazil group plans publicity stunt (Washington Post Online)

An unlikely player on Capitol Hill -- the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association -- is planning a stunt Tuesday at a pair of gas stations on the Hill to drive home its plea to end the 54 cents-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

May 10, 2010

Brazil and US Ethanol Spar Over California Standard (DomesticFuel.com)

In a court brief filed last week, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Brazil’s ethanol trade association, defended California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) against lawsuits filed by the petroleum, trucking and ethanol industries of the United States.

Article tags: Environmental Benefits

April 28, 2010

Taking Biofuels to the Next Level (Center for American Progress)

There is no question that the United States must reduce its dependence on oil. One-fifth of the oil consumed in the United States is imported from nations that are “dangerous or unstable” for travelers, according to the State Department. And since surface transportation is responsible for 65 percent of oil use in the United States, this task will require us to meet the challenge of oil use in the transportation sector head-on.

We will need to employ a variety of important measures to reduce oil use, including significantly more efficient fuel economy standards, investments in public transportation and high-speed rail, and smart growth development efforts. The production and use of alternative fuels, including natural gas and advanced biofuels, are also key components of a strategy to diversify our sources of energy for transportation. And each of these steps, taken together, can increase energy independence by reducing oil use by millions of barrels.

Article tags: Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

April 27, 2010

Battle of ethanol: Sugarcane vs Corn (ICIS Green Chemicals)

The battle over corn-based and sugarcane-based ethanol -- which one is cheaper? -- has been brewing for weeks, and I've received emails and tweets last week about statements released from both camps: the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA) and the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

April 26, 2010

Bill would extend ethanol tax credits, tariff (Agweek.com)

A bill to extend the ethanol tax credits and the ethanol tariff introduced April 20 by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, prompted praise from U.S. ethanol producers and critical analysis from the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, which goes by the acronym UNICA.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

April 19, 2010

UNICA: Stop High Tariffs on Clean Technologies (Domestic Fuel)

The ethanol tariff debate continues as today, Marcos Jink, President and CEO of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) told World Trade Organization’s Director-General, Pascal Lamy, during a presentation that, “It makes no sense for countries to adopt ambitious policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while continuing to apply high tariffs on clean technologies that can be instrumental to achieve goals and allowing fossil fuels to be traded freely.”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

April 18, 2010

Further Implications Of The U.S. Ethanol Tariff (Forbes.com)

In Implications of the U.S. Ethanol Tariff, I discussed the argument that the U.S. ethanol tariff on imported ethanol is justified in order to prevent foreign ethanol from benefiting from U.S. taxpayer support.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

April 15, 2010

Implications Of The U.S. Ethanol Tariff (Forbes)

You probably saw the recent announcement that Brazil has lifted its tariff on imported ethanol until 2012. It's hoping to put pressure on the U.S. to remove or reduce its own import tariffs on the alternative fuel.

In order to better understand the intricacies of the issues involved, I have been engaged in dialogue with a number of industry groups and economists. Here I will try to shed some light on the tariff issue.

Full Article

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

April 14, 2010

Ethanol Ad Wars: Corn Takes on Sugarcane in a Battle Over Tariffs and Tax Credits (BNET)

The corn-ethanol trade group Growth Energy’s $2.5 million “Just the Facts” ad campaign pushes its members’ product as the go-to domestic fuel source and a cleaner, more economic and “peaceful” alternative to foreign oil. But oil is just part of corn ethanol’s problem. In fact, the PR push is really about Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol, a fuel that’s cheaper and cleaner than corn ethanol.

Specifically, the ads are part of corn ethanol’s push to extend tax credits and a tariff on imports that keeps sugarcane ethanol out of the U.S. Corn-ethanol producers also want changes in federal law so that their product counts as an advanced biofuel — which would favor it as refiners and other producers meet federal requirements for using renewable fuels.

Full Article

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

April 13, 2010

Ethanol producers in Brazil, U.S. in ad war over incentives (Des Moines Register)

The U.S. and Brazilian ethanol industries are launching competing ad campaigns as they prepare for a fight in Congress over the future of U.S. incentives for the biofuel.

U.S. producers have the better-funded and most ambitious campaign.

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Ethanol doubles its efforts (Associated Press)

Is corn-based ethanol fuel the wave of the future, creating domestic jobs and vital to the nation's energy supply? Or is it a taxpayer boondoggle responsible for higher food prices?

For some in Washington, the answers to those questions have changed.

For years, ethanol fuel derived from corn was almost politically untouchable, thanks to powerful advocates on Capitol Hill. The ethanol industry has consequently exploded over the last decade, thanks to government subsidies and incentives.

Full Article

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

Rival Ethanol Trade Groups Campaigning to Woo Senators, Clobber Each Other (The New York Times)

Two rival trade groups seeking congressional help for the ethanol industry launched advertising yesterday to promote themselves and bash one another.

Growth Energy Inc., which represents corn and other domestic ethanol producers, seeks to maintain supremacy at home, while the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, or UNICA, wants to tear down corn ethanol's benefits in order to grab a larger share of the U.S. market.

The campaigns' same-day launch was coincidental, the groups said. The lobbying efforts likely are eyeing the same legislative target, one analyst said.

Full Article

Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

April 12, 2010

Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol Launches Marketing Blitz in Face of U.S. Tariffs (Gas 2.0)

Calling themselves the “underdogs,” the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) has today launched an advertising campaign and a new website, sweeteralternative.com, to bring awareness of the successes of the Brazilian ethanol industry to a U.S. audience.

The UNICA campaign claims to simply educate the U.S. about how beneficial Brazilian sugarcane ethanol is for both consumer’s pocketbooks and the environment… but the way I see it, the marketing is clearly aimed at changing the subtext of the convoluted tariff and taxation systems currently in place that have essentially banned the importation of Brazilian ethanol into the U.S.

Full Article

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Ethanol Advertising Blitz (Domestic Fuel)

“America’s Fuel” will have some competition from “Brazil’s Fuel” as the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) also launched a campaign today aimed at explaining the benefits of sugarcane ethanol. UNICA’s campaign includes a new website, SweeterAlternative.com, online, print and radio advertising, new research and a high-profile partnership with the Indy Racing League.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

April 11, 2010

Understanding the Ethanol Tariff Issue (The Energy Collective website)

On Monday, the Brazilian Chamber of Foreign Trade said it would remove the country’s 20 percent ethanol tariff until Dec. 31, 2011, Congress Daily reports. With the temporary elimination of the tariff, Brazil was hoping to pressure the United States into lowering or removing its own tariff and taxes on imported ethanol. Currently, imported ethanol is subjected to a 2.5 percent ad valorem tax and an additional 54 cents a gallon surcharge, which terminates Dec. 31, 2010.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

April 08, 2010

Brazil Eliminates 20% Import Tariff on Ethanol (Greentech Media)

One of the main arguments that pro-ethanol lobby groups like the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy make in defense of the generous Congressional subsidies to U.S. corn ethanol producers is that Brazil unfairly competes by slapping a 20% tariff on imported ethanol, effectively locking out U.S. ethanol exports.

Well, so much for that argument.

Full Article

Article tags: Energy Diversity

April 07, 2010

Brazil Announces Temporary Elimination of Ethanol Tariff (The Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing website)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is urging both countries to eliminate the ethanol tariffs. “Consumers win when industries compete,” said Joel Velasco, chief North American representative for the association. “Brazilian ethanol producers are willing to compete for consumers. What about American producers?”

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

E85 for 85 Cents Off in Vestavia Hills, Alabama (Domestic Fuels)

The Dogwood Shell station at 1488 Montgomery Highway, in Vestavia Hills, AL will be selling E85 for 85 cents off for 85 minutes: from 2:15 until 3:40 tomorrow, April 8th. This promotion is to celebrate the involvement of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) as the official ethanol provider for the Indy Racing League cars debuting in the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race at the Barber Motor Sports Park this weekend.

Full Article

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Energy Diversity

Corn ethanol tax credit: most expensive way to create jobs ever? (National Resources Defense Council)

Today, in yet another example of ethanol industry spin, the Renewable Fuels Association released a state-by-state version of its highly inflated jobs study. This is just another part of big ethanol’s effort to make the case for extending the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC)—a massive, taxpayer-funded subsidy for corn ethanol—on top of both blending mandates under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and stiff border tariffs to protect domestic ethanol producers from foreign competition.

Full Article

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

April 06, 2010

Brazil drops 20 percent ethanol tariff (Ethanol Producer website)

UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, called the Brazilian announcement a “major step forward in building a global biofuels marketplace.” The organization continues to lobby hard for the U.S. to also drop its tariff on imported ethanol. "The question now is whether the U.S., as the world's number-one ethanol producer, will follow suit,” said Joel Valasco, UNICA's chief representative for North America. “Consumers win when industries compete. Brazilian ethanol producers are willing to compete for consumers. What about American producers?"

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Brazil Eliminates Tariff on Ethanol Imports (Domestic Fuel)

In a bid to get the United States to eliminate tariffs on imported ethanol, the Brazilian government has announced it will reduce their tax on ethanol imports to zero from the current 20 percent through the end of next year. The Brazilian Chamber of Foreign Trade (CAMEX) announced the temporary reduction Monday and it is expected to go into effect before the end of the week.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Brazilian sugarcane ethanol 90% better than petrol (BioFuels International magazine)

With its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90%, Brazilian sugarcane-based ethanol is described as the most emission-efficient biofuel.

A report by the International Food Research Policy Institute (IFPRI) called ‘Global Trade and Environmental Impact of the EU Biofuels Mandate’ has concluded that Europe will meet its 2020 targets with regards to carbon in transport by consuming Brazilian sugarcane-based ethanol.

The report indicates that the cost of food will not rise as the production of Brazilian sugarcane ethanol increases.

Full Article

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

April 05, 2010

Editorial: Stop 'Big Corn' (The Washington Times)

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to dump more corn into your fuel tank this summer, and it's going to cost more than you think.

The agency is expected to approve a request from 52 ethanol producers known collectively as "Growth Energy" to boost existing requirements that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent. The change means billions more in government subsidies for companies in the business of growing corn and converting it into ethanol. For the rest of us, it means significantly higher gasoline and food prices.

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Article tags: Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity

Brazil Panel Suspends Ethanol Tariff Through 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News)

The Brazilian government's Foreign Trade Council on Monday suspended a 20% tariff on ethanol imports through the end of 2011, the council said in a statement.

The council said it was taking the action in a frank effort "to be consistent with Brazilian demands to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers against ethanol in markets worldwide."

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Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages

April 03, 2010

Ethanol tax credits face stiff fight (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Ethanol's extended run of taxpayer backing could be in jeopardy.

A coalition of opponents to the corn-based fuel is working to block the extension of billions of dollars in biofuels tax credits, set to expire at year's end.

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Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

March 31, 2010

US ethanol industry “determined to avoid healthy market-based competition” (Renewable Energy Magazine)

At least that is what the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) believes. In response to the US recently introducing legislation extending subsidies to corn ethanol and the 54-cents per gallon tariff on imported ethanol – particularly sugarcane ethanol from Brazil – for five more years, UNICA has issued a statement expressing its concern about the US’s apparent willingness to “punish clean energy from Brazil”.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

March 19, 2010

Editorial: Ethanol and Diplomacy (The Huffington Post)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently granted sugarcane ethanol the status of "advanced biofuel" after recognizing -- based on scientific studies -- that it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases by 61% when compared to gasoline.

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Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

March 12, 2010

Brazilian Ethanol Powers IndyCar Series Again (Domestic Fuel)

The IZOD IndyCar Series makes its debut this weekend in South America with the Sao Paulo Indy 300 powered by Brazilian ethanol.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

Global Trends: Brazil - Sugar Rush (NACS Online)

Brazilian ethanol producers harvest sugarcane, not corn, to make their bio fuel. They argue that their means of production gives their biofuel competi tive and environmental benefits over corn-based ethanol. In California, clean air regulators clearly agree. They recently scored Bra zilian cane-based ethanol much lower in carbon intensity than ethanol made from corn grown in the Midwest. That’s an important distinction as the state pursues its controversial low carbon fuels standard (LCFS) that requires all motor fuels in the state to emit less climate-changing gases over the next several years. Several states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic are looking to follow Cali fornia’s example, and talk of a national LCFS has surfaced on Capitol Hill.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

February 10, 2010

Brazil´s Sugarcane Industry Wants Import Tariff Cut Done Fast (Brazzil Mag website)

UNICA originally asked CAMEX to remove the import duty in a letter sent in October of last year. According to Jank, UNICA believes free trade is a two-way street and Brazil, as the largest producer of cane ethanol and largest exporter of ethanol in the world, with 60% of the global market, should lead by example.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

February 04, 2010

New regs could still face fight from Capitol Hill (E&E Daily)

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday announced the new regulations for low-carbon fuels, which would implement the long-awaited renewable fuels standard that Congress included in the 2007 energy bill. The final rule is friendlier to ethanol than a proposal EPA floated last year, which incited bipartisan rage from Midwestern lawmakers, who thought the analysis was unfair to farmers and ethanol producers.

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Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Environmental Benefits

EPA Deems Sugarcane Ethanol an Advanced Biofuel (Domestic Fuel)

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed in its expanded rules of implementation for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), that ethanol made from sugarcane is considered an advanced biofuel that lowers greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by more than 50 percent. Specifically, EPA’s calculations show that sugarcane ethanol from Brazil reduces GHG emissions compared to gasoline by 61%, using a 30-year payback for indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol, Economic Advantages, Energy Diversity, Environmental Benefits

January 22, 2010

Brazilians call for cut to 20% ethanol import tax (Recharge News)

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, Unica, is calling for the elimination of a 20% import tax on ethanol as domestic stocks are depleting and prices at the pump are on the rise.

Article tags: About Sugarcane Ethanol

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