America's ethanol industry has been in a state of rapid evolution since the beginning of 2000. Record-setting production, policy development, and market expansion have all moved forward with dramatic speed and helped to create the world's largest, most efficient, most cost effective renewable fuels industry.
However, developments in 2011 have set the stage for a new chapter in American ethanol history. Here are the Top 5 stories of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the Renewable Fuels Association. They Are: 1. EPA gives final approval to E15 for model year 2001 and newer vehicles; 2. End of VEETC and the secondary tariff; 3. U.S. exports set all-time highs; 4. Restarting the advanced and cellulosic ethanol engine; and 5. Emergence of the integrated biorefinery model.
As we begin the new year there are challenges ahead and some stories to watch for U.S. ethanol in 2012. Despite the end of several support mechanisms still in place are the Renewable Fuel Standard and a marketplace that is now comprised of 10% ethanol and growing.
Looking ahead, RFA sees five stories to watch for in 2012. 1. First commercial availability of E15 blends for model year 2001 and newer vehicles. 2. Free and fair trade of ethanol. 3. Much legal activity surrounding American ethanol use. 4. Expect the barrage of unsubstantiated attacks on the RFS to continue. 5. Expect challenges in cellulosic ethanol production.
The Renewable Fuels Association believes these five storylines will have the most lasting impact on ethanol production in the U.S. However, there are other issues that could surface. They include the elimination of unnecessary subsidies for the petroleum industry and accurately accounting for carbon emissions from transportation fuels.