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Brazil group plans publicity stunt

An unlikely player on Capitol Hill -- the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association -- is planning a stunt Tuesday at a pair of gas stations on the Hill to drive home its plea to end the 54 cents-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol.

The sugar cane association competes with U.S. corn growers in producing ethanol that's added to gasoline. It hopes that Congress won't vote to renew when the tariff expires this year.

The group plans to underwrite a 54 cents-per-gallon reduction of gas prices at two Capitol Hill Exxon stations, one on Massachusetts Avenue and the other on Pennsylvania Avenue.

-- Ashley Halsey III

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 20, 2010; 4:51 PM ET
Categories:  Driving  | Tags: Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, brazilian association wants ethanol tarrif lowered, capitol hill, ethanol tariff, ethanol tax  
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Comments

I'd rather discourage production of ethanol from ANY food crop, and encourage production from organic material that would otherwise be thrown away. Or from non-food crops that grow well on land unsuited for food.

Posted by: jcflack1 | May 21, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The stunt misses the point. We are already deeply addicted to foreign oil. We should not become addicted to foreign ethanol. If the tariff is removed then the US will lose more than 150,000 jobs across the country. The 2007 US federal Energy Independence and Security Act intended to make the US more energy secure and independent – NOT further dependent on foreign sources of transportation fuels. If we remove the tariff we only result in destroying the US ethanol industry – which employs 100,000’s of jobs and produces today’s ONLY source of alternative liquid transportation fuel that works in our current infrastructure. US produced ethanol IS the answer for today’s alternative clean energy and job creation. Keep the tariff in place.

Posted by: gen3 | May 21, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Ethanol from sugar in Brazil is still a food crop. It is crazy to import any energy source to this country. Why can this generation not get their head around being energy indepedent? Numerous studies show corn ethanol has little to no impact on food prices. Why stiffle a growing US renewable industry and put Americans out of work? Where have the US patriots gone? Lets get on with renewable energy independance NOW!

Posted by: lzimmermai | May 21, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The 2007 Energy Act's very name supports reducing our dependence on foreign energy —it is known as the Energy independence and Security Act. When it passed that legislation, Congress intended to make America more energy secure, and more energy independent — not further addicted to foreign energy.

Posted by: Scorpion3 | May 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Until the EPA increases the ethanol blend flexibility to 15% for all vehicles the tarrif needs to stay in place or America's economy will suffer more job losses!

The US production of ethanol is greater than the consumption due to EPA regulatory blend cap of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.

America has the infrastructure and ability to produce and use more ethanol and we need to do so in order to stop the transfer of wealth to the Middle East! We are funding terrorism with every tank of gas!

Brazil requires cars be suitable for a 25% ethanol blend, and has required various mixtures between 22% and 25% ethanol. Also most vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV's) capable of runing on any blend of gasoline and ethanol sold.
This is great because they have flexibility and consumer choice.

American consumer's deserve the same choice! We can accomplish this by requiring auto manufactures to produce all flexible fuel vehicles and incentivizing retailers to offer E-15, E-30 and E-85.
The consumer then can choose what fuel they would like to purchase.

When this is accomplished we drop the tarrif and let ethanol and gasoline compete head to head and the consumer will win and we will defund terrorism!

Posted by: USA14 | May 21, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Removing the tariff doesn't displace a single drop of foreign oil — but only serves to smother U.S. ethanol, which is the only large-scale domestic alternative we have to foreign oil.
Removing the tariff on Brazilian ethanol would eliminate more than 160,000 jobs across the country.

Posted by: bjwhog | May 21, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

We should not lift the tariff on imported ethanol; instead we should adopt the open fuel standard act (senate bill S.3303) which will commit automobile manufactures to producing flex fuel vehicle. This would allow us to choose our own fuel and blends of fuel that include up to 85% ethanol. At the current time the US produces sufficient renewable fuel and does not need to compete with foreign ethanol. By enacting an Open Fuel Standard Congress can break OPEC’s hold over the international fuel market, and insulate the global economy from the threat of future OPEC price manipulation. Allowing foreign ethanol will only hurt our economy and weaken our funding for future advances in renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel.

Posted by: nrg123 | May 22, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The Brazilian ethanol industry was built with aggressive mandates and subsidies that go back to the 1970s. The subsidies have been suggested to include grants and low interest loans to get the Brazilian ethanol refineries built.

The US ethanol industry is much younger. Mandates grew in the US as we became interested in domestic fuel oxygenates and petroleum based MTBE was phased out due to contamination of ground water. The US did not provide the aggressive mandates of Brazil and DID NOT PROVIDE SUBSIDIES TO BUILD ETHANOL REFINERIES. INSTEAD THE US SUBSIDY AMOUNTS TO AN INCENTIVE FOR FUEL BLENDERS TO USE ETHANOL. TARIFFS ON ETHANOL IMPORTS ARE TO PREVENT FOREIGN ETHANOL (ALREADY SUBSIDIZED AND MANDATED IN BRAZIL) FROM ALSO HAVING ACCESS TO THE US SUBSIDY.

The US has proven to be a reliable supplier of corn for both the food and fuel. When considering the maximum ethanol blending limits in the US, removal of the tariff on previously subsidized Brazilian ethanol will give them direct access to the US subsidy at no cost to them. This doubly subsidized competition from Brazil will amount to unfair competition for the US ethanol industry. This competition could slow the developement of domestic, renewable, environmentally friendly fluid fuel in the US. Lifting the tariff would be a negative for US jobs, US rural communities, US tax receipts, domestic fuel supplies, and the US balance of trade.

Posted by: jabber11 | May 23, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

The Brazilian ethanol industry was built with aggressive mandates and subsidies that go back to the 1970s. The subsidies have been suggested to include grants and low interest loans to get the Brazilian ethanol refineries built.

The US ethanol industry is much younger. Mandates grew in the US as we became interested in domestic fuel oxygenates and petroleum based MTBE was phased out due to contamination of ground water. The US did not provide the aggressive mandates of Brazil and DID NOT PROVIDE SUBSIDIES TO BUILD ETHANOL REFINERIES. INSTEAD THE US SUBSIDY AMOUNTS TO AN INCENTIVE FOR FUEL BLENDERS TO USE ETHANOL. TARIFFS ON ETHANOL IMPORTS ARE TO PREVENT FOREIGN ETHANOL (ALREADY SUBSIDIZED AND MANDATED IN BRAZIL) FROM ALSO HAVING ACCESS TO THE US SUBSIDY.

There is no shortage of ethanol production potential in the US. Removal of the tariff on previously subsidized Brazilian ethanol will give them direct access to the US subsidy at no cost to them. This doubly subsidized competition from Brazil will amount to unfair competition for the US ethanol industry. This competition could slow the developement of domestic, renewable, environmentally friendly fluid fuel in the US. Lifting the tariff would be a negative for US jobs, US rural communities, US tax receipts, domestic fuel supplies, and the US balance of trade.

Posted by: jabber11 | May 23, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate to learn of this publicity stunt on the eve of one of our most treasured national holidays in the U.S. In order for us to continue working toward decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, it makes absolutely no sense to fall for this stunt and increase our dependence on foreign ethanol. Tragically, our continued dependence on imported oil--amounts to sending $20 billion to $30 billion overseas each month. Why on Earth would we want to send another staggering amount of money overseas for a product that we can effectively make here in the U.S? Think about how many jobs and economic opportunity that money could create here at home if we didn’t siphon it out of our economy to subsidize the economies of other nations.
Removing the tariff doesn't displace a single drop of foreign oil - but rather smothers U.S. ethanol, which is the only large-scale domestic alternative we have to foreign oil. And if we remove the tariff on Brazilian ethanol, it would eliminate more than 160,000 jobs in the U.S. - jobs that contribute tremendously to rural economies and communities across America. And finally, let's remember what Congress passed just a few years ago, the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). The intention of this legislation was to make America more energy secure and independent - NOT to become addicted to another source of foreign energy.

Posted by: kikigarcia71 | May 24, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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