Ethanol brings America’s clean energy future within reach

This content is provided by the National Corn Growers Association.

America is in pursuit of a clean energy future, and as it happens, corn farmers are helping to achieve this goal.

Ethanol, made from corn produced by farmers throughout America, is an immediate, clean energy solution already found at gas stations throughout the country. This home-grown fuel significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions while lowering the price of fuel for consumers.

Today, nearly every gallon of gasoline in the U.S. contains at least a 10% blend of ethanol. Higher blends like E15 – a 15% ethanol blend often labeled as Unleaded 88 – further the benefits of this home-grown fuel, providing Americans with a lower-cost, lower-carbon option at the pump. Needless to say, ethanol is a win for drivers’ wallets and the environment. On top of that, it’s a critical component to expanding our nation’s fuel supply.

Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel, resulting in up to 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) than regular gasoline. With increased market access to higher ethanol blends, our nation could lower transportation GHG emissions by 17.6 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 3.8 million vehicles from the road.

What’s more, blending this American-grown fuel adds about 14 billion gallons of ethanol  each year into our nation’s fuel supply. This helps reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy sources and strengthen energy security.

Fueling up with higher ethanol blends provides drivers relief at the pump, saving them an average of 25 cents per gallon. But the economic benefits don’t stop there. In 2023, the U.S. ethanol industry supported nearly 394,400 direct and indirect jobs, added $32.5 billion in household income and contributed more than $54.2 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product.

This is a substantial economic impact that boosts the American economy, while also helping rural communities thrive. In fact, ethanol production helps bolster the financial viability of rural farming operations and safeguard the resources Americans rely on each day.

Each year, America’s farmers plant more than 90 million acres of corn. Roughly 30% of field corn goes into fuel ethanol. Farmers invest in technology, allowing them to implement more sustainable practices and grow more with less. Today, farmers use their land more efficiently than ever – the amount of land required to produce a bushel of corn decreased by 44% between 1980 and 2020.

The benefits of ethanol are clear, yet new tailpipe emissions standards overlook this existing, clean energy solution. Rather, they rely heavily on electric vehicles as the primary solution for reducing emissions in the transportation sector. This standard not only ignores ethanol as an immediate solution, but it also hurts family farms and rural communities that rely on the sale of biofuels to maintain their economy. On top of that, it will remove consumer choice from the market.

Fortunately, bipartisan legislation exists to take advantage of all solutions to clean up the transportation sector and advance ethanol.

If passed, the Next Generation Fuels Act would establish a clean, high-octane standard for fuel that would harness the full benefits of renewable fuels, improving vehicle efficiency, cleaning up America’s fuel supply and strengthening the vitality of rural economics.

Additionally, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act would expand consumer choice at the pump by preventing future disruption in E15 availability and encourage more retailers to offer this fuel option, saving Americans $20.6 billion in annual fuel costs.

The benefits of ethanol are clear: increasing support and expanding access to this homegrown, renewable fuel will decrease greenhouse gas emissions, lower prices at the pump and reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy sources. Now, it’s time for our leaders to harness these benefits on the path to achieving America’s clean energy future.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up