NCGA: We Love Ethanol
Happy Valentine’s Day! No matter how you celebrate the day, if you celebrate at all, we here at the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) are thinking about the top 10 reasons why we love ethanol.
- Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40-45% compared to conventional gasoline.
- 16.1 billion gallons of ethanol was produced in 2018 in the United States, along with 41.3 million metric tons of distillers grains, a value-added animal feed ingredient.
- Ethanol is homegrown and displaces roughly 580 million barrels of oil.
- Exports of ethanol grew in 2018, with exports increasing 20% to 1.6 billion gallons, a new record.
- 5.5 million bushels of corn is used for ethanol and distillers dried grains (DDGS) production.
- The ethanol industry contributes $46 billion to the GDP.
- Consumers have driven more than 7 billion miles on E15 without a single reported negative impact.
- There are 1,700 stations in 30 states offering consumers E15.
- EPA has approved E15 for use in all new light duty and medium duty vehicles since 2001. That means 9 out of 10 vehicles on the road today.
- And last, but not least, we get to work with great industry partners: American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
New Study Reaffirms the Environmental Benefits of the RFS
The growing body of research on the environmental benefits of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) just got bigger. A study released last week highlights some of these benefits including improved air quality and public health.
Since enacting of the pro-biofuel policy in 2007, the use of biofuels in our transportation fuel supply has reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 600 million metric tons. This is roughly equivalent to shutting down 154 coal-fired power plants or removing half of our nation’s cars from the road for an entire year!
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) contracted with Life Cycle Associates, a California-based scientific consulting firm, to update its 2014 GHG analysis to see how actual CO2 reductions match up with the expectations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The use of biofuels—predominantly corn ethanol—reduced emissions far more than what the agency expected (422 million metric tons).
The report attributes the tremendous impact of biofuels on the following:
Corn ethanol has adopted technology improvements, which results in GHG reductions far greater than the 20 percent reduction assumed by EPA.
Petroleum GHG emissions are higher than the baseline project by the EPA.
The mix of other renewable fuels has also contributed to additional GHG reductions even though cellulosic ethanol targets in the original rule have not been met.
This study underscores the reality that biofuels are getting cleaner while oil is getting dirtier. The deliberate development and adoption of energy-reducing, less-environmentally impactful technology has led to an increasingly sustainable biofuels industry focused on improvement. The trend is moving in the other direction for petroleum-based gasoline as more energy-intense, environmentally-damaging methods are used to extract oil resources once thought unreachable.
It is no time to shy away from the critical implications of this basic trend. By 2050 the number of passenger miles driven is predicted to increase by 20 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2019 Annual Energy Outlook released last month. As less developed countries continue to modernize, populations grow, and vehicle miles increase, demand for fuel will increase dramatically. This study and others make obvious the impacts of displacing just a small portion of petroleum in our fuel — more room for biofuels, more room for impact.