India Auto Expo Booth Demonstrates Ethanol Advantages
U.S Grains Council Release
The exhibition area at the Indian Auto Expo, India’s largest auto show, covers an area equal to 15 football fields. Stationed amid vehicle unveilings and 40 different vehicle manufacturers, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and U.S. corn industry partners invited the roughly 600,000 visitors to the show – including Indian consumers, fuel industry stakeholders and government officials – to learn about the economic, environmental and health benefits of increased ethanol use.
The Council was specifically invited to attend the auto show in February, which happens every two years, by the Society for the Indian Automobile Association (SIAM). Jim Zook, executive director of Michigan Corn, and Greg Krissek, CEO of Kansas Corn, joined with USGC staff and consultants to represent the U.S. corn farmer and ethanol production perspectives.
“It’s an exciting time to meet with stakeholders so that when those opportunities come about, the U.S. ethanol and grain industry will be well-positioned to take advantage.” — Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn CEO
“The Council’s participation in the Auto Show was very successful, allowed us to place ethanol at the highest level of importance to both Indian consumers and industry as well as government officials,” said Alejandra Danielson Castillo, USGC regional director for South Asia. “It marked the first engagement by request of a stakeholder in the ethanol and energy talks in the country and allowed us to bring visibility to the U.S. corn states of the work and strategy being done in the country.”
India was the third largest buyer of U.S. ethanol in the 2018/2019 marketing year at nearly 203 million gallons (nearly 72 million bushels in corn equivalent); however, those imports were only for industrial uses. While India is updating its national biofuels policy, it still does not allow ethanol imports for fuel use – a fundamental issue the Council is working to address.
The USGC booth worked to dispel some of the myths about ethanol use, emphasizing how ethanol extends engine life, has cleaner combustion properties, does not negatively affect food security and saves money at the pump.
“I was very impressed with the booth layout, with the traffic that came through and all the questions being asked of the participants,” Zook said. “A very educational booth answered a lot of questions for the people attending the show and we were well-represented with meeting the right people.”
The biggest draw to the booth, however, was a mock U.S. fuel pump that provided a clear demonstration on the price difference between the different ethanol blends, and the savings potential if India would blend ethanol into their fuel supply.
“The U.S.-inspired gas pump created much buzz among the event show goers,” Danielson Castillo said. “Indian consumers do not have a choice when selecting what type of gasoline, nor do they have pricing topins, so the booth provided an opportunity to see that optionality and highlight why India should consider this model for its own fuel sector.”
The USGC delegation also met with key stakeholders in India, including government ministers and leaders of auto industry associations, following up from the 2019 Global Ethanol Summit and making new contacts. Krissek also spoke on an alternative fuels panel during the Global Electrification Mobility Summit, which ran concurrently to the expo.
The Council will continue to build upon these partnerships in India and increase the number of stakeholders, like the ones involved with the Auto Expo, that can engage with the Indian government as policy changes are discussed.
“While trade between the United States and India still has some items to be resolved, the Council – in responding to the invitation to be at the auto show – was well-placed to discuss ethanol,” Krissek said. “It’s an exciting time to meet with stakeholders so that when those opportunities come about, the U.S. ethanol and grain industry will be well-positioned to take advantage.”