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The current and past presidents of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association were able to chat with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday, asking for his endorsement of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and ethanol. IRFA president Brad Albin and past president Walt Wendland approached Romney and put him on the spot while an associate filmed (watch it below). Romney's response? "I do support the RFS and ethanol."

Albin works for Renewable Energy Group and Wendland with Golden Grain Energy, both of which are biofuels production companies in the state. They approached Romney at the Koch family farm in Van Meter, IA, where Romney was speaking about his agriculture policy goals.

IRFA's slogan is "leading Iowa into the 21st century's bio-refining economy," and the association brings together ethanol and biodiesel producers to promote and support the industry. The industry is dependent on the federal RFA, and looks like it's gaining support from both the Romney and Obama campaigns. Gaining traction in Washington is difficult these days, especially when the amount of corn used as a gasoline additive is lambasted by leaders in the United Nations who are worried about volatile global food prices and drought conditions.

There's another hurdle the IRFA and other biofuels advocacy groups have to get over: public support. There are thousands of flex-fuel vehicles on American roads these days (made by General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler), but it has yet to gain widespread awareness and support from consumers as an important alternative fuel.

Flex-fuel vehicle owners need questions answered: Can you go as far on a tank of E85 as you can on gasoline? Why do the levels of ethanol blend vary widely in different gas stations? What's the real price differential between gasoline and ethanol? So far, drivers don't seem to be impressed enough with ethanol, or biodiesel, to demand government support for the alternative fuels or to make sure they're gassing up with it.





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  • 31 Comments
      Aaron
      • 2 Years Ago
      Romney and crew are pro-oil. Simple as that. He might SAY he's pro-ethanol, but his actions speak louder than words.
        Vlad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Aaron
        Being pro-ethanol doesn't conflict with being pro-oil as much as it seems. You still need to burn oil to produce it, and it keeps all the same ICE cars on the roads. Ethanol was a "green" fuel of choice for the Cheney administration for a reason.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Aaron
        Let me guess, you're going to vote for the guy who took polar bears of the extinction list, kept the pentagon contract with BP ( who gets away with 10x more safety/environmental violations as a side benefit ) after the BP oil spill, OK'd the keystone XL pipeline to be built when nobody's looking, launched new oil wars in Northern Africa, and did nothing to improve the situation with fracking. Prove me wrong and say you're voting for a third party,
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Aaahhh, chechnya has not been paying attention at all. Vlad: i wish i was as optimistic as you are ;)
          Vlad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Yep. Obama's record on the environment is less than stellar. Fortunately for the President, his opponents are too busy painting him a radical environmentalist. And I would still trust him more than the other guy, especially with a Democratic Congress, and especially when the economy improves. Pushing for the green agenda with a hostile Congress and with the economy where it is is a bit like a suicide.
          chechnya
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Launched new oil wars? Dafuq?
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      luv them corn squeezins , specially after they killed my outboard's fuel injection pump.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ok, what's surprising ? Both candidates are seeking to gain office. The farm belt and ethanol industry are important voting blocks. Both candidates (quite rightly) are only concerned with the US economy, and the interests of US voters, not the whining of the UN ! Meantime, both candidates know that although the overwhelming majority of US motorists, dislike ethanol, they don't rate it as a big enough issue to change their vote.
      george costanza
      • 2 Years Ago
      rmoney do you like ethanol "i like ethanol' clean energy? I like clean energy. coal I like coal. lamp I love lamp. do you really love lamp? mittens likes everything and both sides of every issue...that plays in Amerika... since we live in denial in little bubbles it is possible to be everyman/woman's candidate by ignoring every other thing he says. just pick and choose whatever fits your view. then turn off tv and don't read paper because tomorrow it isn't what he really meant and he might say something totally different in the next state over... where is he going next? I can predict if he is going to ID he will love potatoes! he will tell anecdotes about how his five moms cooked nothing but potatoes his entire childhood! whoever DOESN'T like potatoes is a dam98ed liberal.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      So Mitt crapped all over the Iowa wind industry so now he is trying to make up for it by pimping corn ethanol? Meh. Of course we need to wait until the handlers tell us what Mitt 'meant' to say.
      bluepongo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      He will pander to any one who will listen. Record drought? anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
      sdn
      • 2 Years Ago
      What the hell? He's criticizing Obama for supporting failed energy companies, and now he's supporting corn based ethanol?? Corn should be for eating, not for cars!
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sdn
        You do know that the corn used for ethanol is NOT the corn you would want to eat. It's the stuff they feed to cows (which also should NOT be eating corn).
          Laurence
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rob J
          The type of corn they use to make ethanol is not sweet corn (aka corn on the cob), but people absolutely eat it. It is the type of corn used to make corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, corn flakes, tortillas, cornbread, etc. It is the majority of the corn we consume in the US. However, human food is the third largest consumer of corn, behind ethanol and cattle feed. And you are right, cattle should eat less corn. However, when the farmer can make far more cultivating corn than he can using his land for grazing, then the cattle get pushed off and more of our meat comes from feed, rather than grass.
      Fgergergrergr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Debunking Ethanol Myths - Autoline After Hours 168 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQiYfrxs68s&feature=g-all-u Very good conversation about ethanol. Just so everyone knows corn ethanol is CAPPED at 15 billion gallons last year they produced almost 14 billion.
      jazzie604
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can someone please explain to me why more corn can't be grown? Especially in my neck of the woods( central ky) there is plenty of open land, or tobacco land that would be just fine for growing corn out you...wazoo. More dans for corn would mean its more profitable, hence more of it gets grown. And I don't believe this food shortage BS, it's not like America is going to go hungry anytime soon.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jazzie604
        My guesses: 1) it is energy intensive to grow - so you need a place with just the right conditions in order to get the best yield. 2) Soil conditions could be bad too due to overuse. 3) availability of water.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jazzie604
        Have you not heard about the drought in the Midwest? People don't even have enough water to flush the toilet. Yes there is plenty of open land, but you need farming infrastructure. All of that can be built, but it won't happen in time for this year.
      delsolo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      And Robme is a man of his word...for the next ten seconds.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      So he wants to continue subsidizing it? Another, uh.. 'bold' financial decision by the conservatives. The budget should be balanced in short order!
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      How much will it bump up food prices, how many millions of cars that were running perfectly will it destroy? Germans are shunning it, despite the EU saying they should all be using it, under EU law. (Reuters) - German drivers are reluctant to buy a new gasoline blend with a higher biofuel content, the country's oil industry association said on Friday. Germany this year raised the maximum permitted level of bioethanol blended in gasoline to 10 percent from 5 percent as part of Germany's programme to protect the environment by cutting CO2 emissions. But sales since the introduction three months ago have been poor and German motorists are avoiding filling up their cars with the higher blend gasoline, called E10, a survey from oil industry lobby MWV said. E10 is only achieving a 17 percent share of German gasoline sales, it said. Some 52 percent of motorists avoiding the new fuel blend said they feared engine damage, the survey said. Others said they doubted its environmental benefit and also had concerns about burning food as fuel, the MWV added. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/13/us-germany-biofuels-gasoline-idUSTRE74C4HC20110513
        Jesse Gurr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        I guess that is the same as the US going from E10 to E15? Are they not built to handle E10 like they are here? interesting
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