It’s probably not news to you that domestic ethanol producers are turning corn into environmentally friendly, renewable fuel. That this clean-burning, high-octane fuel contributes to our energy independence. Or that millions of drivers have used ethanol over billions of trouble-free miles.
Now we’d like to set a few things straight*:
E-10, the most common blend, can be used in every make and model vehicle sold in America.
E-85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, can be used only in flexible fuel vehicles—and there are more than 6 million on the road today.
Every barrel of American-made ethanol produced directly displaces 1.2 barrels of crude oil.
Corn-based ethanol decreases the price of gasoline by as much as 40 cents per gallon.
Ethanol use reduces carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and other ozone-forming pollutants.
And it’s true: Industry demand for corn has helped bolster low corn prices, allowing growers to earn a very modest, market-based profit on their crop.
Simple enough, right?
And here’s a bit of news: Ethanol, which consumed 28 percent of the corn crop in 2011, is expected to consume about one-third of the crop over the next ten years, according to a USDA forecast.
Ethanol production is not just about keeping the American grower up and running. It’s about keeping all of America good to go with a fuel that makes sense. And with the improved quality and quantity of today’s corn crop, it’s possible to meet the demands of the road without taking food from the table.
At an average price of $3.50 per bushel, the value of our 2009 corn crop is estimated at $2.41 billion. Ag experts expect 73 million of those bushels to be fed to South Dakota livestock, and another 300 million bushels to be processed through the state’s 15 ethanol plants.
Both uses greatly increase the crop’s economic benefit to us all. Creating hundreds of indirect and direct jobs in ethanol plants, and sending an estimated $550 million of wealth rolling through the South Dakota economy. But the best is yet to come: the USDA estimates that the Renewable Fuels Standard will generate an additional $2 billion to $4 billion in net farm income by 2012. And corn use in ethanol production will continue to grow.
*Source American Coalition for Ethanol