U.S. Ethanol Weighs In On Proposed Canadian Fuel Standard

Representatives from USGC, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and USDA/FAS discussed ethanol policy, usage and benefits with Canadian officials in April.
Representatives from USGC, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and USDA/FAS discussed ethanol policy, usage and benefits with Canadian officials in April.

The Canadian government has set an aggressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 megatons by 2030 - and U.S. ethanol is a proven and economically viable tool to help achieve that objective. A U.S. ethanol industry mission delivered that message and more information about the benefits of U.S. ethanol during a mission to Canada in April, followed by formal comments on the proposed Canadian Clean Fuel Standard. 

One-third of all U.S. ethanol exports are destined for Canada, making it the top export market for U.S. ethanol for the past four marketing years. In the first six months of the 2016/2017 marketing year, U.S. ethanol exports to Canada have already increased 40 percent year-over-year, totaling 166.2 million gallons or 1.51 million metric tons (59.4 million bushels) in corn equivalent.

“The U.S. ethanol industry applauds Canada’s desire to reduce the carbon intensity of its transportation fuel market, and we see our northern neighbor as a strong partner in renewable fuels expansion," said Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) president. "Our product is an important supplement to Canada’s own domestic production and, should Canada boost its use of ethanol, our industry stands ready to ensure that the supplies Canada needs are available.” 

Canada has an existing national blending mandate of 5 percent in place and is already an important market for U.S. ethanol exports, thanks in part to the free trade preferences between the two nations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Doubling the national blending mandate to 10 percent, however, would provide additional opportunities for U.S. ethanol export sales and a low-cost tool to help substantially reduce GHG emissions, the carbon intensity of transportation fuel and other air pollutants including carbon monoxide and particulate matter. 

Representatives from the Council, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) shared this information, as well as perspective on their experiences with ethanol policy, usage and benefits, in April with Canadian officials. 

The three associations reiterated these points in formal comments submitted April 27. The comments stressed that in addition to increasing the mandated blending rate to 10 percent ethanol (E10), an effective, transparent and accountable ethanol policy, the Clean Fuel Standard must be based on sound, peer-reviewed science and eliminate as many regulatory and legislative barriers as possible. 

The Council and its partners will stay engaged in this top market, ensuring U.S. ethanol continues to achieve positive results for ethanol industries, agricultural producers and consumers on both sides of the border. 

Read more about the Council’s work on ethanol here.