Faced with an uncertain future in the U.S., ethanol proponents have mounted a public push north of the border, urging Canada to raise its own renewable-fuel levels for gasoline.
Environment and Climate Change Canada, the nation’s top environmental agency, is in the process of developing a new “Clean Fuel Standard,” a broad set of new regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions and bringing cleaner-burning fuels to the pump. Part of the review includes taking a second look at the country’s renewable-fuels rule, which currently calls for an average of 5 percent ethanol by volume in gasoline.
By comparison, U.S. gasoline this year topped 10 percent ethanol on average for the first time.
American ethanol producers — which already have found Canada to be fertile ground for exports — say the Canadian government, if it’s serious about reducing carbon emissions, ought to seriously consider raising that 5 percent threshold to at least 10 percent.
“The U.S. ethanol industry applauds Canada’s desire to reduce the carbon intensity of its transportation fuel market, and we see our northern neighbor as a strong partner in renewable fuels expansion,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, which works to find new export markets for American corn, grain, ethanol and other products.
“Our industry stands ready to ensure that the supplies Canada needs are available,” he added in a statement last week, after the council, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and other pro-ethanol groups submitted formal comments to the Canadian government.
In addition to calling for widespread availability of E10 — gasoline with 10 percent ethanol and the most common blend available at American pumps — U.S. ethanol backers also said “regulatory barriers” should be removed to make it easier for producers to sell their goods in Canada.
The country already is the third-largest importer of American ethanol. The U.S. ethanol industry in March exported 127.8 million gallons of product, and 22.7 million gallons of that went to Canada, according to information from the RFA.
Moving forward, the Canadian government says ethanol mandates are under review but wouldn’t commit to forcing more of the fuel into gasoline supplies.