US President Trump promises "giant package" for ethanol producers

29 Aug 2019 | John McGarrity

US President Donald Trump is planning a “giant package” for the country’s beleaguered ethanol producers in a bid to placate farmers angry at the administration’s granting of waivers to over 30 refiners, which enables the oil industry to swerve obligations to use the biofuel.

The move is the latest slalom by the Trump presidency to appease corn producers who say that waivers have destroyed billions of gallons of demand for ethanol at a time that exports of the fuel has been hit by the US-China trade war and weak or negative margins at scores of ethanol facilities across the Midwest.

“The Farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for Ethanol, not even including the E-15, year around, which is already done,” Trump said in an August 29 Tweet.

“It will be a giant package, get ready! At the same time I was able to save the small refineries from certain closing. Great for all!”

No details were forthcoming on what measures the White House will deliver for ethanol producers, although last week news agencies reported that Trump will make it easier for fuel retailers to roll out the currently patchy infrastructure for E15 that earlier this year was mandated for year-round use.

Reuters reported last week that the Trump administration was also considering whether to increase mandates sometime in the 2020s to compensate for the gallons lost through the issuance of exemptions for small refiners, which corn producers say disproportionately benefits major oil producers.

Some sources have suggested an increase from the current 10% blend limit, known as E10, to 12% may be under consideration.

The American Coalition for Ethanol, a producers’ lobby, told Agricensus that it reckons that the batch of small refinery exemptions (SREs) issued two weeks ago would enable oil blenders and refiners to waive requirements to buy 10% of the annual US ethanol volume.