LTA Staff Meet Salvadoran Governmental Representatives, Discuss MOU To Evaluate Possible Blending Program

The U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) Latin America (LTA) Regional Ethanol Consultants Freddy Villao and Juan Sebastian Diaz traveled to El Salvador this month to meet ministerial level government officials, including Vice President Felix Ulloa. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Council and the Office of Strategic Programs at the president’s office to assess an ethanol blending program in the country.

After first interactions at the regional event Cultivando Energia in early 2023, Council staff traveled to El Salvador to share with the heads of the Ministries of Energy, Agriculture and Environment the benefits associated with an ethanol blending program in the country.

El Salvador consumes 350 million gallons of gasoline annually and is a net importer of gasoline. Recently, high oil prices have negatively impacted the country’s economy, reaching an inflation rate of 7.3% in 2022.

President Bukele´s Office of Strategic Projects took the initiative to prepare and sign an MOU with the Council to join efforts and assess the role and benefits of ethanol in the country’s economic growth, diversification of the energy matrix and decarbonizing transportation.

“Having the opportunity to meet with key government officials and present the potential benefits of the use of biofuels in El Salvador triggered the interest of the Salvadoran government,” Diaz said. “We expect the assessments conducted under the MOU will provide strong technical arguments to decide and adopt a blending program within the short and medium term.”

The Council’s efforts in the Central America (CTA) region have been focused on promoting the economic, environmental and technical benefits of ethanol for public and private sector stakeholders. The recent engagement with El Salvador is expected to align with other alliances generated to develop robust programs in the region and create consensus among the CTA countries to adopt biofuels as the best alternative in the region to reduce fuel prices and limit fossil fuels dependency.

“Once the MOU with El Salvador is signed, we expect to provide assistance in developing an ethanol blending program and establishing an ethanol market that is sustainable and a real option for the country to consider as they go through the regional and global energy transition,” Villao said.