Jan 11, 2018
The Bolivian government announced its intention to establish an ethanol blend mandate during a December seminar conducted by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).
Bolivian Vice President Garcia Linera made the announcement during closing remarks at the event, reporting the government’s decision to implement an ethanol blend mandate starting at 10 percent in 2018 with goals of mid-level blends in coming years.
Bolivia did not previously have an ethanol blending mandate, though the country has seven sugarcane milling facilities already producing ethanol domestically. Linera emphasized the mandate would help increase domestic gross domestic product (GDP) in Bolivia by supporting local industry, while maintaining a role for trade to help consistently meet the E10 blend level.
“The Bolivian announcement is an exciting development for ethanol policy in the Americas,” said Mike Dwyer, USGC chief economist. “This success of the Council’s work to promote biofuels policies with a role for trade is directly attributable to the efforts to increase knowledge sharing and collaboration like at the Ethanol Summit of the Americas last fall.”
Linera’s comments followed a seminar organized by the Council to provide information on the economic and environmental benefits of biofuels. In addition to Dwyer, speakers from Mexico, Paraguay and Argentina provided information on the movement towards using ethanol and discussed the main constraints to developing biofuels policies in their respective countries.
“The seminar helped start the discussion between the public and the private sector in Bolivia for establishing an ethanol mandate,” Dwyer said. “Additionally, we offered knowledge and expertise from the U.S. perspective in growing an ethanol industry to help make it happen.”
During the same mission, the Council traveled to Ecuador to continue a similar dialogue on biofuels. Ecuador does have an E5 mandate in place, but a reliance on sugarcane to produce ethanol results in difficulty guaranteeing the blend rate during heavy rainy seasons that disrupt local production.
In contrast, an ethanol mandate with a role for trade would support the Ecuadorian domestic industry while ensuring the blending rate is met throughout the year, no matter the local weather disruptions. The blend mandate also contributes to Ecuador’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement to implement effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Council expects this open dialogue between the private sector and government officials to result in future cooperative efforts to increase ethanol consumption,” Dwyer said. “The Council helped this effort by providing firsthand information about ethanol’s environmental benefits and market opportunities for the local industry in Ecuador.”
The Council arranged the meetings in Ecuador and Bolivia as a direct follow-up to the Ethanol Summit of the Americas in October 2017, after which representatives from both countries expressed additional interest in developing ethanol policies and requested further discussions. The Council plans to continue this dialogue and encourage the generation of biofuels policies throughout the world.
“U.S. ethanol has a competitive advantage in Latin America driven by cost of production, efficiencies and reduced transportation costs,” Dwyer said. “We aim to expand the use of ethanol in the region - including in Bolivia and Ecuador - through continuing to facilitate discussions on establishing pathways for its use.”
Learn more about the Council’s work to promote biofuels policies with a role for trade here.