A four-day tour across Iowa to educate a group of retailers from Mexico on the ethanol industry and ethanol blends in the U.S. took place last week, including a stop on July 10 at the Key Cooperative Cenex fuel station in Nevada.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) co-hosted the fuel retailers for the tour. The tour was planned in cooperation with the U.S. Grains Council.
Nine retailers from Mexico made stops in Iowa to learn how ethanol is made, distributed and sold in the U.S. They also learned how successful and beneficial ethanol blends are for fuel in the U.S.
The retailers represent some of the largest Mexican retail groups, and can influence the use of ethanol blends in Mexico.
The tour started as an idea by Lucy Norton, IRFA managing director, and Ron Lamberty, senior vice president of ACE.
“We wanted to bring a group here to show them how everything works and how it is sold to the customer,” Norton said.
The retailers are collecting information and data about ethanol blends in order to gain familiarity with the blends and how they can be used in Mexico.
“The tour is to show how we use ethanol in the States to hopefully get some of these practices adopted in Mexico,” said Katie Fletcher, communications director for ACE.
Ethanol is used to make E-10 fuel, a mixture of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline and is commonly available across the U.S.
Until 2017, ethanol was not used in Mexico for fuel. The fuel industry was controlled by Pemex, the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, which supplied all the fuel.
In 2016, a law was passed to deregulate gasoline. Since 2017, stations could buy gasoline outside of Pemex, opening up the use of E-10 blends.
“The use of ethanol blends benefits consumers in Mexico with a lower cost of fuel and reduced air pollution for the country,” Norton said.
After the tour, the retailers will have more information about using ethanol blends and can inform other retailers and businesses in Mexico about use and distribution.
“Seeing is believing. Seeing a station, a tank and a pump that looks exactly like theirs can help them be more confident with the products and using them,” Lamberty said.
Fernando Pereira Flick is the director of Hidrosur in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. Hirdosur distributes hydrocarbons to branches of the economy where hydrocarbons are necessary for production.
“We understand the nature of the product and see its benefits to the environment and consumers, since it lowers prices of fuel,” Pereira Flick said. “For us, it’s a win-win strategy.”
Hidrosur is a subsidiary of the Grupo Lodemo, the first private marine terminal in Mexico.
“We are considering adding an infrastructure to import ethanol and blend it at our terminal,” Pereira Flick said.
The group made several stops earlier last week, including visits to Melbourne and Waterloo. The tour concluded last Thursday with stops in Urbandale and Johnston.