New Study: Renewable Fuels Economic Impact Remains Strong in Iowa

Press Contact: T.J. Page


Ethanol and Biodiesel Producers are Taking Punches but Fighting Back

JOHNSTON, IOWA – Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw today stated Iowa’s renewable fuels industry has taken the best punches its opponents can throw and is still fighting back to preserve a strong and growing federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  Shaw’s comments came during today’s 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows.  In addition, IRFA released the results of a new economic impact study to highlight the importance of fighting for renewable fuels.

“While production and profits were sound, the renewable fuels industry took a pounding politically in 2013,” stated Shaw.  “But I stand before you today to declare that the Iowa renewable fuels industry can take their punches and we are fighting back!  No one here ever thought it would be easy to earn market share away from the world’s most powerful and profitable industry.  The fact is, the world needs oil, but consumers also deserve the chance to choose lower cost renewable fuel blends.  So, we will never stop fighting to put the option of E15, E85 and biodiesel in front of every American consumer.”

Responding to revelations that the White House told the EPA that setting the RFS number too low would result in “no harm, no foul” Shaw added:  “That notion is truly out-of-touch – even for Washington, DC.  Today, Iowa biodiesel plants sit idle waiting for the politicians to make up their minds.  And if the EPA proposed rule moves forward, industry observers predict that 25 to 45 percent of US biodiesel production will shut down, costing thousands of jobs.  Do you think those families agree that setting the RFS too low results in ‘no harm, no foul?’  As soon as word of the proposed 2014 RFS numbers leaked in the media the corn market plummeted.  With corn prices at or below the cost of production, rural America is about to enter a period of reduced farm income, lower land values, and the inability to make a profit.  Do you think a 5th generation farmer forced to auction off his family’s Century Farm agrees that setting the RFS too low results in ‘no harm, no foul?’  President Obama needs to keep his promise about supporting cleaner fuels, consumer choice, and cutting oil dependence.  He needs to pick up the phone and call the EPA and simply state: Don’t mess with the RFS.”

Economic Impact Study Released During Summit

At the Summit, IRFA released a study conducted by ABF Economics economist John Urbanchuk highlighting the impact of the renewable fuels industry on Iowa’s economy.  During 2013, spending on new cellulosic plant construction and research and development offset reduced spending on inputs due to lower commodity prices.

“The environment facing the renewable fuels industry improved modestly in 2013 and the economy of Iowa benefitted accordingly,” stated Urbanchuk.  “Ethanol and biodiesel producers are part of a manufacturing sector that adds substantial value to agricultural commodities produced in Iowa.”

Based on the size and scope year-end, the renewable fuels industry had the following impacts on Iowa’s economy in 2013:

  • Accounts for more than $5.5 billion, or about 4 percent, of Iowa GDP;
  • Generates $4 billion of income for Iowa households; and
  • Supports more than 62,000 jobs through the entire economy.

To view the full report, please click here.

To view a fact sheet on the report, please click here.

To view Shaw’s remarks, please click here.

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.8 billion gallons annually, with three cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.