In a statement today, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) President Kent Peppler expressed support for an appeal to the Environmental Protection Agency for an increase of the ethanol levels permitted in gasoline. “This change will be good for farmers and consumers,” Peppler said. “Taking the permitted level of ethanol from 10% to 15% will decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign sources. It will create more jobs. And it will create a new market for American corn in these tough times for family farmers. We are urging our members to sign on to support Growth Energy’s petition to the EPA before the comment period ends on May 21.”
Increasing ethanol blend levels from 10 to 15 percent will generate $24.4 billion for the U.S. economy. It will also replace seven billion gallons of imported gasoline per year at our current rate of gasoline consumption at the pump. A study by North Dakota State University estimates that the change could create more than 136,000 new green-collar jobs nation-wide. Ethanol use reduces the price of gas by 20-35 cents/gallon, according to Department of Energy estimates, saving the average American household $150-$300/year.
“Corporate interests have tried to tie ethanol to higher food costs,” Peppler said. “The Congressional Budget Office has demonstrated that is pure hokum. Ethanol production impacted the cost of food last summer, when fuel costs peaked, by half a percent. That’s a nickel for every ten dollars you spend at the grocery. The farmers’ share of your food dollar averages about 20 cents.”
According to Growth Energy, corn-based ethanol produces 50 percent less greenhouse gases than gasoline. Their web site states, “Recent improvements in agriculture have increased crop productivity dramatically, providing biofuels with a huge boost without hurting food supplies.”
Peppler summed up RMFU’s position like this: “Ethanol is the only sustainable, domestic fuel that works in the gas engines we already have. It’s what we can do now, and we urge the EPA to step up and help farmers, consumers, the economy and the environment.”