American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty traveled to Mexico City last week for the final ethanol technical workshop held this year for Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers. The workshops were a joint effort of the U.S. Grains Council and the Mexican Association of Service Station Suppliers (AMPES), to inform local station owners about opportunities in sourcing, marketing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline, as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector continues to evolve.
“These workshops have helped Mexican fuel marketers, equipment suppliers, and even some government officials understand offering gasoline with 10 percent ethanol is a safe and economically sensible way to have cleaner air and provide less expensive options at the pump for drivers in Mexico,” Lamberty said. “‘The math’ of ethanol blends is undeniably attractive for station owners and consumers right now, and our next challenge will be helping businesses do what they need to do to distribute our product to places where it can be blended and delivered to stations. Fuel equipment companies say the workshops have inspired interest from retailers and prospective wholesale distributors of ethanol.”
Those points were echoed at a press conference during last week’s workshop by AMPES President Isaias Romero Escalona, who said, “The interests of some politicians are the main obstacle to the incorporation of ethanol into the gasoline market,” while the President of the Mexican Energy Commission (COMENER) Juan Acra López said the introduction of ethanol would be “music for the ears of the next government, since it would reduce the cost of fuel.”
“Current U.S. ethanol exports to Mexico are primarily for industrial uses like perfumes, solvents, and beverages, but we’re starting to see retailers in border cities buying pre-blended E10 at U.S. terminals for resale in their convenience stores or service stations,” Lamberty added. “While these volumes are tiny right now, just as we saw ethanol spread across the U.S., when retailers see other retailers successfully selling E10, they become more confident they could offer it too, and volumes will increase.”
Lamberty’s 2018 travels to Mexico included visits to Xalapa in August, Chihuahua in July, and León in June. Earlier this spring, Lamberty spoke at two other workshops in Monterrey and Tijuana. USGC and AMPES also held a workshop in Oaxaca earlier in November. Mexico City is the final workshop the USGC is hosting in 2018, but interest and attendance increase at each event, and ACE will continue to work with the USGC to provide information to retailers and others who want to sell more ethanol.