Ethanol reduces oil's damage to climate and US economy

By Nebraska Ethanol Board | July 08, 2014

As 41 million Americans hit the road to celebrate the country’s birthday, they are again reminded of the strain gasoline puts on the family’s budget. With the constant volatility and chaos of global oil markets holding economies hostage, fuel consumers want and need choices at the pump.  Domestically produced ethanol fuel provides that choice.  As the most effective alternative to gasoline, ethanol accounts for more than 10 percent by volume of U.S. motor fuel consumption.      

Ethanol is the lowest cost alternative to gasoline.   In the first week of July, ethanol prices averaged 88 cents per gallon less than gasoline at Midwest fuel terminals.  For a vehicle traveling 12,000 miles per year, this translates to an annual fuel saving of $502.   

Ethanol also significantly reduces crude oil imports that still account for 35 percent of U.S. consumption.  Imported crude is one of the most significant elements of the U.S. annual trade deficit.  Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas impacts of gasoline and is the fuel of choice in areas of the world where low carbon fuel standards dictate fuel composition.  It displaces toxic chemicals used in the production of gasoline.  For example, ethanol replaces benzene, a toxic carcinogen, used by U.S. oil refiners to boost octane in gasoline.  The reduction or replacement of toxic gasoline chemicals in gasoline with ethanol reduces gasoline’s most harmful health and environmental effects. 

The economies of Nebraska and other Midwestern states are interwoven with the ethanol sector.  Recent University of Nebraska studies describe the economic bounce in the state’s economy when the ethanol sector is fully operational.  It is in the best interests of Nebraskans and Americans to insist that wise state and federal fuel standards that include ethanol be supported by policymakers.