Ethanol Update: The RFS, ethanol's economic impact, oil subsidies and more

This chart shows that when it comes to taxpayer subsidies, the fossil fuel industry receives the vast majority.

It’s been a while since we’ve updated everyone on the happenings in the world of clean, renewable and homegrown ethanol. So, we’ll forgo the chit-chat and get right into the update.

Reform instead of repeal?
It looks like “Big Oil” is shifting it’s strategy from trying to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to reforming it. However, part of those “reforms” include repealing the corn ethanol portion of the RFS.

The strategy shift could also allow oil companies to work toward eventual repeal of the RFS through the “death by 1,000 cuts” method: Try and chip away at the RFS through smaller victories and eventually the whole thing will go away.

Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen provides a voice of reason on the topic:

“API (American Petroleum Institute) claims they are winning and that the RFS no longer holds the political currency it once did. So why are they then changing course? The reason for the change in approach is that API’s narrative on the RFS is a fiction and Jack Gerard knows it. API can’t continue to support repeal of the RFS because Americans want fuel choice, they want to reduce our dependence on petroleum, they want to address global climate change, they want the evolution of our transportation fuel system to continue. They want the RFS.”

$2.1 billion (yes, Billion, with a “B”)
Minnesota’s ethanol industry contributed $2.1 billion to the state’s gross domestic product in 2015, according to a new study by ABF Economics. The same study said the ethanol industry generated 7.37 billion in gross sales in 2015 for Minnesota businesses, $1.6 billion in income for Minnesota households, supported over 18,000 full-time jobs and contributed $93 million in local taxes.

Ethanol: Good for the air, good for our own pocket book and good for Minnesota’s economy.

Read more about the study from the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, who commissioned the study, here. Read the complete study here.

Big Oil subsidies
It’s a drum we beat often around here: Fossil fuels like oil receive the vast majority of federal subsidies, while renewables like ethanol receive very little. That fact is proven once again in this chart that shows subsidies for fossil fuel are 10 times greater than subsidies for renewable energy sources.

The next time someone complains to you about “all those ethanol subsidies,” be sure to direct them to this chart (or this MinnesotaCornerstone post).

New study addresses ethanol energy balance
Despite numerous studies proving otherwise, ethanol detractors continue to falsely claim that it takes more energy to produce ethanol than it saves. A new USDA study once again shoots down that talking point.

According to the study (which you can view here), for every unit of energy it takes to produce ethanol and its many by-products, we get 2.3 units of energy in return. Better technology and production methods have helped that energy balance greatly improve since 1995.

New E15 video
Why are so many petroleum marketers and C-stores adding E15? This great new video from the American Coalition for Ethanol helps explain it.

Sign on
If you have yet to do so, sign on to these two petitions supporting the building of flex-fuel vehicles:

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