Gov. Ricketts: Retailers Offering High Ethanol Blends Can Now Apply for Tax Credits

For Immediate Release
Aug. 3, 2022               

For More Information Contact:
Reid Wagner, Nebraska Ethanol Board
402-471-2941 | Reid.Wagner@nebraska.gov

Alex Reuss, Governor’s Office
402-471-1970 | Alex.Reuss@nebraska.gov

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts invited retailers who sell higher ethanol blends of fuel to apply for tax credits made available through the passage of Legislative Bill (LB) 1261e. Gov. Ricketts signed the bill into law this spring after it was passed unanimously by the Nebraska Legislature. 
 
The Nebraska Department of Revenue is administering the program and began applications for the credits on Mon., Aug. 1.  For more information or to apply, visit ethanol.nebraska.gov/resources/nebraska-higher-blend-tax-credit-act.
 
“Utilizing ethanol should be a centerpiece of our national strategy to lower gas prices,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Ethanol saves drivers money at the pump, is better for the environment, and creates opportunities for farm families here in Nebraska. As a state, we’re doing our part to grow U.S. energy production by encouraging sales of renewable fuel.”


 
In Nebraska, E85 is available at 124 fueling stations. E15 is available at 112 fueling stations, and that number continues to grow. 
 
“At the retail level, very simply put, E15 is better fuel and it costs less,” said Randy Gard, chief operating officer of Bosselman Enterprises and secretary of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We are excited about the passage of LB1261e and what it can do for our customers. If you are a retailer, there is now nothing standing in your way today to make the transition from E10, the standard fuel most people use today, to joining this mass conversion to E15. There are incentives with LB1261e, there’s consumer demand, there are certainly price pressures, and increased availability at the terminals. This is a win for everybody…retailers, legislators, farmers and ranchers, and especially users of ethanol who support Nebraska’s economy, help the environment, and save money every time they fill up.”
 
Bosselman Enterprises, located in Grand Island, was an early adopter of E15 at many of its Pump and Pantry locations across the state. They continue to see double digit sales growth for E15 every year.
 
By selling a 10% blend at the pump, fuel retailers are already helping Nebraskans save at least $275 million per year. That savings increases when higher blends are figured in.
 
“Right now, for some, choosing ethanol is what’s helping them budget for groceries and pay other bills,” said Reid Wagner, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  “While there are many other benefits of the fuel, the cost savings are what has motivated the government to make real changes quickly. The Biden Administration continues to allow E15 to be used throughout the summer, and now, the Nebraska legislature is rewarding retailers for providing healthier, lower cost fuel options for their constituents. We know the continued relief ethanol provides economically and environmentally and will continue sharing that message until higher ethanol blends are easily accessible to everyone.”
 
Choose Ethanol, Save Money
 
E15, a blend of gasoline and 15% ethanol, is safe and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use in vehicles 2001 or newer, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). Flex fuel vehicles can use the highest ethanol blends, up to E85.

  • When you choose E10, expect a $.40 to $.50 savings per gallon versus ethanol-free fuel options.
  • E15 can provide up to an additional $.10 savings per gallon.
  • If you have a flex fuel vehicle, you will likely save $1 or more per gallon when you choose E85.

 To find locations where ethanol is sold, visit fueledbynebraska.com.
 
Interested in Selling High Ethanol Blends?
 
Over 96% of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today are legally approved to run on E15. E15 has both a higher-octane rating and costs less than regular unleaded due to its higher ethanol content. This gives retailers a lower-priced, higher-octane fuel they can market to consumers.
 
Retailers who would like more information about selling higher blends of ethanol can reach out to the Nebraska Ethanol Board at 402-471-2941 or visit the resources tab at ethanol.nebraska.gov. Funding for infrastructure is also available. Find details at ethanol.nebraska.gov/resources/incentive-programs.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit ethanol.nebraska.gov.

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Study shows Nebraska’s ethanol industry continues to expand

The POET Bioprocessing facility near Fairmont, Nebraska.

Summary courtesy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Nebraska ethanol industry produced over 2.25 billion gallons in 2019, resulting in a value of production for ethanol and co-products of greater than $4.04 billion, according to a new University of Nebraska–Lincoln study estimating the industry’s impact in 2018 and 2019. The overall economic impact of the Nebraska ethanol industry is over $4.5 billion.

Gallons produced and value of production in 2019 both increased over 2017, the year of the previous report, when the state produced over 2.07 billion gallons of ethanol, valued at $3.76 billion.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry remains an important market in Nebraska, trailing only corn and cattle,” said Kate Brooks, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and a co-author of the study. “While the industry experienced weakened ethanol prices in 2018 and 2019, it has shown resilience through continued expansion in total capacity and diversification of co-products.”

According to the study, Nebraska continues to rank as the second-largest ethanol-producing state in the nation. The overall value of ethanol and ethanol co-products averages 64% of corn production, 33% of cattle production and 131% of soybean production, making ethanol the third-largest agricultural industry in the state.

From 2010 to 2014, the ethanol industry employed 1,301 full-time employees, rising to 1,453 employees from 2015-2017. These jobs led to primary employee income of $71 million from 2010 to 2014 and $97 million from 2015 to 2017. In 2018 and 2019, the industry employed 1,460 full-time equivalents, leading to a labor income of $125 million and $13 million in indirect business taxes. Proprietors’ income tells a different story, as producer income averaged $34 million from 2010 to 2014 and only $11 million annually from 2015 to 2017, which were primarily caused by lower prices. The estimated proprietors’ income for 2018 to 2019 was $12 million.

“Comparing the two most recent reports shows a trend toward stability in ethanol production,” Brooks said, noting that the latest data shows growth in ethanol co-product markets, for products like dried, wet and modified distillers’ grains and corn oil. The industry continues to expand beyond these traditional co-products, taking advantage of new market opportunities.

Almost all of Nebraska’s ethanol and about half the state’s dried distillers’ grain and corn oil production are exported, meaning most production results in a net positive impact for the state. The sales outside of Nebraska represent a direct economic impact, bringing new money into Nebraska’s economy.

The study’s results also suggest a positive impact on local corn cash prices, with an average increase of about 21.3 cents per bushel in the immediate areas near ethanol production facilities. A grower near an ethanol facility producing 220 bushels of corn per acre could receive, on average, an additional $46.86 per acre. Producers farther from ethanol plants face higher transportation costs and would net a smaller amount.

The report was produced by the Department of Agricultural Economics at Nebraska, in partnership with the Nebraska Ethanol Board. It is available here.

Nebraska Ethanol Board June 8th board meeting to be held in Lincoln

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet in Lincoln at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 8. The meeting will be at Hyatt Place (600 Q Street) in meeting rooms I-III. The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Feb. 28, 2022, Board Meeting Minutes
  4. Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
  5. Budget Report & Budget Planning Fiscal Year 2022-23
  6. Fuel Retailer Update
  7. Nebraska Corn Board Update
  8. Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
  9. Technical & Research Updates
  10. Marketing Programs
  11. Approval of Contracts
  12. Funding Requests
  13. NEB-hosted Conferences & Events
  14. Working Lunch
  15. State and Federal Legislation
  16. Ethanol Plant Reports
  17. Chair’s Report
  18. Administrator’s Report
  19. Travel Reports and Authorization
  20. Personnel
  21. Executive Session
  22. Next Meeting Date
  23. Adjourn

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

Nebraska Ethanol Board meetings are open to the public and also published on the public calendar.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

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High School Social Media Contest Encourages Nebraskans to Celebrate Renewable Fuels Month in May

Have you ever switched on a light? Have you used a laptop or a smartphone? Have you ridden in a car or a bus? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have used energy. As technology develops and the world’s population grows, people need more and more energy. But meeting this need sustainably can be a challenge!
 
Nebraska high school students took on the mission of educating their peers about reducing their energy use and carbon footprint through the Field to Fuel student social media contest. Students were tasked with planning a one-week social media campaign to promote Renewable Fuels Month – a celebration recognized in May by Nebraskans and sponsored by Nebraska Ethanol, Nebraska Corn, Nebraska Soybean, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska.

Aditi Rai, a junior at Elkhorn South High School, received first place honor this year for her social media content, which will be featured on the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s social media throughout Renewable Fuels Month. Rai also received $1,000 from the Nebraska Ethanol Board, which she plans to donate to her school’s Unified Green Team – a club dedicated to recycling and taking care of the community.
 
“When I first heard about the competition, I wasn’t sure,” Rai said. “I didn’t know much about renewable fuels or designing a social media plan. However, it was really a valuable experience. I learned a lot about renewable fuels and even more things I can do to help the environment.”
 

Aditi Rai, a junior at Elkhorn South High School, received first place honor this year for the Field to Fuel Student Social Media Contest. Her content will be featured on the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s social media throughout May in honor of Renewable Fuels Month. Rai received $1,000 from the Nebraska Ethanol Board, which she plans to donate to her school’s Unified Green Team – a club dedicated to recycling and taking care of the community.

Renewable Fuels Month recognizes the importance of renewable biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. The month of May typically kicks off the summer driving season, making it a great time to fuel up on biofuels to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money.
 
Vehicles 2001 and newer can safely use blends of ethanol up to E15 and will often see a $.10 savings per gallon. Owners of flex fuel vehicles can use blends up to E85 and experience even greater savings. Find ethanol locations near you at fueledbynebraska.com. Heavy-duty vehicles can lower emissions by filling up with biodiesel blends up to B20. Locations can be found at biodieselne.com.
 
As environmental issues continue to spark national discussions, both ethanol and biodiesel are well-suited to combat global warming and promote cleaner air. Ethanol blends can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 46% compared to regular gasoline, and biodiesel can reduce lifecycle emissions by 86% compared to petroleum-based diesel fuel.
 
“We’re really excited about Renewable Fuels Month as we work to share the benefits of biofuels with our state and its people,” said Tony Leiding, president of Renewable Fuels Nebraska. “I encourage everyone to help us celebrate, spread the word, and continue to use higher ethanol blends throughout the summer driving season.”
 
Each year, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts declares May as Renewable Fuels Month with a proclamation. Throughout the month the group hosts fuel promotions at gas stations offering higher blends of ethanol, interviews on Pure Nebraska, and educates the public about renewable fuels through radio, print, and social media. To participate in Renewable Fuels Month, please follow Nebraska Ethanol, Nebraska Corn, Nebraska Soybean, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) for upcoming events, trivia, and prizes.
 
Lawrence Nelson High School students – Sydney Biltoft, Nathan Elledge, Bailey Ceder, Jacob Kathman, and Riley Funk – took second place honor with a $600 prize for the Field to Fuel contest. Norfolk Senior High students, including Ashton Kruse, Brianna Buresh, Keri Sanne, Henry Espinalas, Courtney Hintz, Jenna Fisher, and Claire Steskal, took the third place prize of $400.
 
“We appreciate all the creative submissions we received for our annual contest and hope the students had fun while they learned,” said Jessica Sodeke, program manager for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Students are the future of renewable fuels, which are vital to Nebraska’s economy and our environment. We hope to see more entries next year and would encourage teachers to devote part of their curriculum to highlighting ethanol and other renewable fuels.”
 

If educators would like more information about how to celebrate Renewable Fuels Month with your students or to introduce biofuels into your curriculum, please visit Ethanol in the Classroom under the Educational Resources tab at ethanol.nebraska.gov, or give the Nebraska Ethanol Board a call at 402-471-2941.
 
The 2023 Field to Fuel contest will kick off in early fall and is open to all high school students grades 9-12. Students do not have to be in FFA to enter; any students can enter, including those interested in agriculture, renewable fuels, supporting a cleaner environment, and/or film production. For more information about the contest, visit https://ethanol.nebraska.gov/ag-in-the-classroom/fieldtofuel/.

Eight Governors Request Permanent Solution For Year-Round E15 Sales

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined a bipartisan group of eight Midwest governors in a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially exercising their authority to ensure E15 can be sold all year.

This action follows President Joe Biden’s announcement on April 12 that his administration would lift the summertime ban on E15 between June 1 and Sept. 15, 2022, to help ease high gas prices. E15, gasoline containing 15% ethanol, can save drivers up to $.10 more per gallon that E10.

E15 would require another waiver next year to be sold during the 2023 summer months; however, the letter sent to the U.S. EPA today includes a permanent fix for E15 and all higher ethanol blends to have no limitations on availability. Under the Clean Air Act, governors have the authority to ask EPA to equalize the summer regulations for E10 and E15. Currently, E10 and E15 are regulated differently, allowing oil refiners to specifically send gasoline blends that exhibit a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) that may be used in E10 but not E15.

Reid Wagner, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, thanks Governor Ricketts for his leadership to ensure that all Nebraskans continue to have uninterrupted access to blends of gasoline that are lower in emissions, better for our engines, and save us all money at the pump.

“In conjunction with the passing of Nebraska’s Higher Blends Tax Credit this month, this action is key to encouraging retailers to further invest in infrastructure to make higher ethanol blends more widely available,” Wagner continued.

Joining Governor Ricketts were the governors of Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Combined, these eight states account for over 10 percent of U.S. gasoline use – a market larger than California.

E15 is safe and approved by the EPA to use in vehicles 2001 or newer. Drivers with Flex Fuel Vehicles can use blends up to E85. In Nebraska, E85 is available at 125 fueling stations and E15 is available at around 110 fueling stations. Locations can be found at fueledbynebraska.com. If our nation moved to a fuel standard of E15, consumers would save $12.2 billion in fuel costs every single year, according to industry expert Growth Energy.

View the governors’ letter here. The governors provided information demonstrating that the action they seek will reduce emissions of certain pollutants that can lead to ground-level ozone formation. This accounts for a reduction in harmful aromatics, including nearly 2.5% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Nebraska.

Biofuels, including ethanol, are underutilized in today’s fuel market but don’t need to be. Nebraska ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 2.6 billion gallons each year but only produce about 2.2 billion gallons. By allowing broader use of lower-cost ethanol blends permanently, Nebraskans could better protect the Earth from the impending climate crisis, enhance our nation’s energy security, and increase ethanol’s economic benefits.

The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which pose severe environmental and health issues. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biofuels reduce GHG emissions by 46% compared to gasoline. Additionally, when blended in gasoline, ethanol displaces toxic aromatics, reducing particulate matter, carbon monoxide, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), and other pollutants that lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death.