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Ethanol Tax Incentives Survive in Senate Bill

December 10, 2010

           

It is true that watching a bill being crafted is a bit like sausage making.  For America's ethanol industry that was facing potential job losses and America's consumers who were facing certain increases in gasoline prices, it was a process worth having. As part of a final tax bill introduced in the Senate, critical tax incentives for ethanol use and infrastructure will all be extended for one more year.  Specifically, the bill includes five provision related to American ethanol: Blender's Credits for Ethanol (VEETC).  The bill extends the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit through 2011 at the current rate of 45 cents per gallon. Tariff on Imported Ethanol.  The bill also extends through 2011 the existing 54 cent, secondary tariff on imported ethanol and the related tariff on ethyl tertiary-butyl ether. Small Producer Tax Credit.  The bill also extends through 2011 the 10 cent per gallon producer tax credit for small ethanol producers producing no more 60 million gallon of ethanol a year.  The tax credit is applicable to just the first 15 million gallons of production for eligible producers. Excise tax credits for alternative fuel and alternative fuel mixtures.  The measure extends through 2011 the $0.50 per gallon alternative fuel credit and the alternative fuel mixture tax credits, excluding black liquor (liquid fuel derived from a pulp or paper manufacturing process) from credit eligibility. Alternative fuel vehicle refueling property.  The measure extends the 30 percent investment tax credit for alternative vehicle refueling property for one year, through 2011. The introduction of the bill is not the final step, but it is an important one.  The RFA believes that the bill will pass the Senate early next week.  We also remain optimistic the bill will ultimately pass the House and be signed by President Obama. Extending these important tax provisions is good policy.  It will provide the market some stability and give the industry time to properly vet and craft responsible reforms of these policies.  Any reform must reflect fiscal concerns while simultaneously ensuring the continued evolution of the industry.  Discussions of reform next year must include all ethanol technologies and should also extend to the permanent subsidies enjoyed by mature fossil fuel technologies like petroleum. Including these provisions in this final compromise was not an easy task.  The RFA recognizes and appreciates the important role played by our industry's advocates in the Senate led by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and the yeoman's work done by the Obama Administration to get this deal done.  We will continue to work with all lawmakers to ensure American ethanol production remains a success story.