November 19, 2008

Washington, D.C. – Growth Energy launched an ad campaign this week to promote higher blends of ethanol in the U.S. gas supply (see the ad campaign at GrowthEnergy.org). Currently, most gasoline in America is E-10 which is ninety percent gasoline and ten percent ethanol. The ad campaign's message is that increasing the blend of ethanol would stimulate the economy and create jobs in America, move the country closer to energy independence and benefit the environment. The group also calls attention to the large body of research that supports higher ethanol blends. Growth Energy's ad runs in today's Politico and in tomorrow's Washington Post.

“The latest research shows that today's cars can run on higher-level blends of ethanol and gas,” said Dave Vander Griend, CEO of ICM, Inc. and Growth Energy board member. “In the Mid-West, we've known this for many years and have been using higher blends of ethanol in our cars for a long time.”

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every billion gallon of ethanol produced, 10,000 to 20,000 jobs will be created. In 2007, the increase in economic activity resulting from ongoing production and construction of new ethanol capacity supported the creation of almost 240,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy. In addition, ethanol production contributed $47.6 billion to the nation's GDP and generated $4.6 billion in federal tax revenues.

“Moving to higher blends is an important signal our government could send to Americans and to the world that we're serious about our energy independence. We should be using homegrown energy instead of sending billions of dollars overseas to import huge amounts of oil from volatile and unpredictable regions like the Middle East,” said Jeff Broin, CEO of POET and Growth Energy board member. “America's dependence on foreign oil causes enormous problems for Americans every day -raising prices on everything from gas to groceries and sending money overseas. Increasing the amount of ethanol in our gas supply is part of a green energy solution to our foreign oil problem.”

Currently, E-10 reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 12-19 percent compared to conventional gasoline and the reduction in CO2 emissions from a 10 percent blend of ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply is equivalent to removing more than 1.2 million cars from the road. Further, moving to a higher blend will create a market for second generation biofuels like cellulosic ethanol that can reduce GHG emissions by 86 percent compared to gasoline.

“Blending more ethanol into our gasoline will be better for the environment than the gasoline we use today because it will offer a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Hawkeye Energy Holdings and Growth Energy board member. “Ethanol is part of the natural carbon cycle meaning that when the corn is replanted it absorbs the carbon emissions from the tailpipe. And it's renewable meaning it can be grown over and over. Blending more ethanol into our gasoline supply and decreasing the fossil fuels we burn is one step we can take toward a greener planet immediately.”

Multiple, comprehensive studies, including research by the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the state of Minnesota, the University of North Dakota, and the Rochester Institute of Technology among others have been completed to evaluate the effects of ethanol-gasoline blends above 10 percent ethanol and blends as high as E-85. The science supports the use of higher blends of ethanol in today's automobiles.

“Moving to higher blends will give our nation an edge during these tough economic times. We can grow our economy and create green collar, high-paying American jobs,” said Wayne Hoovestal, CEO of Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (GPRE) and Growth Energy board member. “Right now is the best time to move to a higher blend of ethanol in our gasoline.”

Recognizing the importance of providing choices for consumers to help them drive toward energy independence, Dave Vander Griend led efforts to install blender pumps at TJ Convenience fuel station located just down the road from ICM headquarters in Colwich, Kan. Since August, consumers now have several ethanol-blended fuels to choose from, ranging from E10 to E85. In fact, since the blender pump installation, patronage at the station has more than doubled. ICM is conducting data collection and testing on using higher blends in its corporate fleet as well.

“We've got a tremendous opportunity ahead of us to promote blender pump infrastructure development, and take us one step closer to weakening our dependence on foreign oil,” continued Vander Griend. “We identified 'The Power of Choice' to be prominently displayed on the canopy above the TJ Convenience fuel station because it provides exactly that – by giving our cars and American consumers the power to support a sustainable energy strategy by choosing domestically produced renewable fuels.”

About Growth Energy

Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America's economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at GrowthEnergy.org.

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