New Study Shows Land Use Impacts of Corn Ethanol Significantly Overstated

WASHINGTON, DC – A new estimate of corn ethanol’s impact on land use shows that California’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) unfairly penalizes the corn ethanol industry, according to a statement by Growth Energy, the coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters

The new study, led by Purdue University agricultural economics professor Wallace E. Tyner, shows that the Air Resources Board (ARB) significantly overestimated corn ethanol’s Indirect Land Use Change emissions under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) by more than twice as much. The study used updated economic modeling to conclude that the effect of switching cropland here or in other countries to produce ethanol would result in 13.9 grams of excess carbon dioxide per megajoule of energy produced. These results are less than half of the ILUC value of 30 g per megajoule adopted by ARB for the LCFS.

“These results demonstrate that Indirect Land Use Change is an uncertain and inconclusive theory and further evidence that it is unfair to single out one industry – corn ethanol – as the culprit behind poor environmental practices in other countries,” said CEO Tom Buis.

“Ethanol from corn can play a significant role in cleaning the air, creating U.S. jobs and securing our national and economic defense. These results prove that ILUC is a complicated and technical rule that should not determine the full implications for the ethanol industry until we have more detailed, long term studies of the issue.”


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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