The U.S. Grains Council collaboration with the Mexican Association of Service Station Providers yielded success with the delivery of 14,500 gallons of ethanol arriving in Guadalajara in May 2020. The ethanol was pre-blended with gasoline at an E10 rate and was equivalent to 5,300 bushels of corn.
“The economic benefits keep proving themselves load-by-load,” said Stephan Wittig, USGC director in Mexico. “Despite the adverse conditions due to COVID-19, ethanol is supporting the Mexican environment, gasoline distributors, fuel retailers and most importantly, the Mexican consumer.”
The Council - together with U.S. ethanol industry partners Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association and state corn organizations - are providing information to Mexican stakeholders on the benefits of ethanol use, including savings at the pump, improved air quality and a long-term commitment to the environment.
As part of that education effort, the Council developed a strategic partnership with AMPES to offer educational workshops. This series updated Mexican gasoline station owners on developments in fuel regulations, dispelled myths about ethanol use and encouraged distribution companies to ask for quotes on ethanol and how to incorporate ethanol tanks in their facilities. In 2019, the groups – including the Council, AMPES, Growth Energy, RFA and the American Coalition for Ethanol – conducted 11 workshops throughout the country.
Grupo Topete, a family-owned gasoline trader building a fuel terminal in Jalisco near Guadalajara, attended two of these workshops. The Council also connected the company with Petrorack, a fuel retailer in northern Mexico supportive of E10 following USGC programs like the 2019 Global Ethanol Summit.
Grupo Topete started importing pre-blended E10 gasoline in May 2020 to its already-built rail track to distribute to independent retail stations.
“Despite the steep decrease in gasoline demand in Mexico due to coronavirus restrictions - down 70% at the lowest point - ethanol realized competitive advantages in the Mexican market,” Wittig said. “Enough margin was offered to deliver the pre-blended E10 gasoline to retail stations within a four-hour drive of the Grupo Topete terminal in Jalisco.”
While these sales are only a small part of the overall ethanol sales to Mexico, this success demonstrates the effectiveness of the Council’s approach to provide technical education and support within the Mexican fuel industry. Each is a step toward encouraging increased ethanol use through a mix of growing quantities of locally produced ethanol with U.S. ethanol filling in the missing demand.