With news that Iran’s reduction of oil shipments to Europe will force American motorists to pay more for gasoline, as oil hits a new six-month high, the American ethanol industry reacted by pointing out that higher blends of ethanol in motor fuel would reduce prices at the pump and reduce OPEC’s influence over our nation’s economy.
“American motorists are looking down the barrel of $5 a gallon gasoline this summer, all while foreign strongmen and dictators threaten to drive prices up even more by shutting down oil supplies. And yet we have the answer to this right here in front of us with American ethanol,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “Ethanol is trading at about 75 cents a gallon cheaper than gasoline. We ought to be giving motorists here at home more choice at the pump. The choices are simple — stay chained to the whims of an Iranian strongman, or invest in clean, renewable, American-made energy with ethanol.”
Growth Energy is the organization that petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to permit blends of up to E15, from the current level of E10. After rigorous testing of engine drivability and emissions testing and found that every car tested – from model year 2001 and newer – met standards for E15.
While minor steps remain before E15 can be brought to market, there are some in Congress who would continue to slow the advance of alternatives to gasoline. In a House Science Committee vote last week, Rep. James Sensenbrenner’s legislation to delay E15 even further won approval.
“That’s a last desperate step to keep consumers from having a choice at the pump and keep us addicted to the most unstable region in the world,” Buis said of the Sensenbrenner bill.
- Ethanol is trading at 75 cents a gallon cheaper than gasoline, according to an analysis of market prices.
- National security organizations warn that with two-thirds of gasoline used in the U.S. derived from foreign oil, much of the money that Americans spend on fuel goes to nations that are either unstable or outright hostile to American interests.
- The Center for American Progress noted that Big Oil is raking in what it called a “banner year” for their profits.
Here are some other facts about ethanol:
- Historically, ethanol is far cheaper than gasoline; organizations including RAND Corp. and McKinsey & Co. consulting have estimated savings for U.S. motorists of anywhere from 17 to 35 cents a gallon at blend levels of E10.
- Domestic ethanol production creates jobs in the U.S. Economists at the Windmill Group estimated that we could create as many as 136,000 new jobs if the nation moves to E15, as Growth Energy proposed in its petition to EPA.
- Grain ethanol is a low-carbon fuel: it is at least 59 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline in a Life Cycle Analysis. Cellulosic ethanol has even fewer emissions, but because of regulations capping the ethanol market supported by oil companies, lack of capital investment in developing cellulosic has slowed its advance. Moving to E15 would eliminate harmful emissions equivalent to removing 1.35 million automobiles from the road.
- EPA has approved Growth Energy’s E15 petition, permitting the fuel blend for all vehicles built in 2001 and newer, after exhausting and rigorous emissions-systems and engine drivability and durability testing conducted by the Department of Energy. All vehicles tested passed. A few regulatory hurdles remain before E15 can move to the marketplace.