Increased Ethanol Usage in Existing Automobiles can Generate $24.4 Billion for U.S. Economy

Washington, D.C. Growth Energy released a study today showing that increasing the ethanol blend in the nation's gasoline supply from 10 to 15 percent could create and support 136,101 new jobs and inject $24.4 billion into the American economy annually. The job growth and economic impact was even greater if the cap was increased from 10 to 20 percent. The study was conducted by a group of current and former faculty of North Dakota State University.

“These figures are dramatic and prove that we can create desperately needed jobs in the midst of difficult economic times with a relatively simple step. By increasing the amount of ethanol blended into our current gasoline supply, we can create thousands of new American jobs that cannot be outsourced, support rural communities and farmers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure the market for cellulosic ethanol. More than 300 million gallons of planned cellulosic ethanol production is waiting to come online, but is stalled because of the lack of an available market. If we don't increase the blend of ethanol in our gas, many of these projects will be cancelled or postponed. By using more of our hightech, homegrown ethanol we can have a huge impact on our national economy today,” said General Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Growth Energy.

The study examined the direct and secondary economic and employment impacts of increasing the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 to 15 or 20 percent. Currently, a 30-year-old rule from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed an arbitrary 10 percent cap on the nation's ethanol usage.

“Our study found there is real job creation value by increasing the ethanol blended in today's gasoline supply,” said Dr. Larry Leistritz, professor of agricultural economics at North Dakota State University and a lead researcher on this report. “While there have been many media reports about the struggling ethanol sector, there has been little discussion about the cause. Part of the industry's challenge is this regulatory cap. Lifting the cap could provide serious benefits by putting the industry on a path for growth and generating billions of dollars in revenue for many struggling communities.”

The study found that another 6 billion gallons of ethanol production capacity would need to be built in order to meet the demand for ethanol at a 15 percent blend rate. In addition to the annual employment and economic contribution of these facilities, the construction of these new plants would lead to a onetime economic boost of $36.8 billion and create more than 260,000 new construction-related jobs.

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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