Energy Security - Ethanol helps reduce our need for foreign oil. The U.S. imports 65% of its petroleum needs today. The production and use of 10.6 billion gallons of ethanol in 2009 displaced the need for 364 million barrels of foreign oil. This is the equivalent of eliminating oil imports from Venezuela for 10 months. Looked at another way, it would mean that the U.S. would not have to import any oil for 33 days.
Lower Emissions - When it comes to reducing emissions, ethanol outperforms gasoline. 2009 research by the University of Nebraska found that direct effect greenhouse-gas emissions were estimated to be equivalent to a 48% to 59% GHG reduction compared to regular gasoline. The EPA recognized that corn ethanol provides a 21% to 52% GHG reduction compared to regular gasoline, depending on whether you took into account global indirect land use change.
Rural Economy - Ethanol provides good domestic jobs and supports the U.S. economy. In 2009, the U.S. ethanol industry helped support nearly 400,000 jobs. Ethanol contributed $53.3 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and added $16 billion to household income. This generated $8.4 billion in tax revenue for the federal government and nearly $7.5 billion of tax revenue for state and local governments.
Food and Fuel - U.S. corn farmers are producing more than enough corn for all uses. Some corn is even held over to be used the following year - Farm products represent only 19% of retail food prices. Labor and marketing costs such as energy, packaging and transportation represent a higher portion. In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that found biofuels responsible for only a fraction of food inflation between 2007 and 2008. Sudden spikes in corn prices are caused mainly by speculation in the commodity futures markets.
Land Use and Ethanol - We can meet all needs and provide a prudent carry-over because corn farmers are significantly increasing production per acre, up 34% in the past 15 years. Deforestation in South America has been on the decrease as U.S. corn and ethanol production have risen. Producers overseas do not make decisions based on what individual farmers in the U.S. do with their farmland.
Video from Renewable Fuels Association
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