Ethanol Sector Wages Outpace Other Nebraska Industries

Over the last decade, wages earned in Nebraska’s ethanol production sector outpaced all other manufacturing groups in state, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program. In 2013, the average annual wage in the ethanol sector was $59,541. By comparison, the average for all other manufacturing sectors in the state was $39,966.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry now has twenty-four operating plants located across the state with the capacity to produce more than two billion gallons annually,” according to Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “The impact of ethanol production goes far beyond rural Nebraska. Virtually every sector of the state’s economy benefits from ethanol’s growth. Economic benefits accrue to technology and manufacturing sectors that provide software and sophisticated equipment to the agricultural sector that provides the raw materials processed in the plants,” he said.

“A vibrant agricultural economy is a major component of Nebraska’s economic success and the growing importance of ethanol is particularly notable. The ethanol industry generates 7,700 jobs, increases Nebraska’s annual economic base by $5.8 billion, and pays more than $38 million in local and state tax revenues each year.” Sneller said.

Estimated Annual Economic Impacts Associated With the Operation of Nebraska Operating Ethanol Plants(a)

  • Increased Economic Effect on: Direct Effects*, Total Impacts(b)
  • Total Ethanol Production 2,077 million gallons
  • Economic base (Output)(c) . . . . . . . $4,652.5 million, $5,114.6 million
  • Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,293, 5,289
  • Household income . . . . . . . . . . . . . $119.2 million, $276.5 million
  • Tax revenues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15.0 million, $38.3 million
  • Retail Sales (Households) . . . . . . . . N/A, $105,397.5 million
  • Grain prices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N/A, $0.05-0.10/bushel

(a) Includes the estimated direct inputs, including labor, required to produce 2,077 million gallons of ethanol.

(b) Includes the estimated direct and secondary (indirect and induced) economic effects associated with the operation of the 24 operational Nebraska ethanol production facilities, as of December 2013. Operational facilities include plants operating in December 2013 plus the Aventine plant in Aurora. Values for the AGP Corn Processing, Inc. plant in Hasting, which is permanently shut down, and the E3 Biofuels plant in Mead are not included in these numbers.

(c) Reported value is for revenues from sales of ethonal only and does not include value of 6.3 million tons of potential distillers grains production. Nebraska, 2012 estimated average pricer per ton for distillers grains was $262 for dry and $95 for wet.

Source: Data on ethanol production capacity and estimated employment for the 25 operational Nebraska plants were obtained from the Nebraska Ethanol Board. Other direct effects (value of output, household income, tax revenues) and estimates of the secondary and total economic effects are derived from a 2014 study, Estimated Economic Impacts of Nebraska’s Ethanol Facilities, 2013, prepared by Kenneth M. Lemke (Nebraska Public Power District).

New Flex Fuel Pumps Open in Three Nebraska Towns

Original article published by the Nebraska Corn Board.

New flex fuel pumps are now open in three Nebraska towns: Lewis and Clark Mini Mart in Crofton, Tom’s Service in Pierce, and Country Partners Co-op in Spalding.

These locations add to the more than 85 locations in Nebraska with E85/flex fuel pumps that offer ethanol-blended fuels such as E85 for flex fuel vehicles. Lewis and Clark Mini Mart and Tom’s Service both offer E85 and E30 for flex fuel vehicles, as well as E10 for all vehicles. Country Partners Co-op in Spalding has E85, E30, and E20 for flex fuel vehicles in addition to E10.

When flex fuel drivers fill up on E85 and other ethanol blends, they’re strengthening Nebraska’s economy, creating jobs, making our country more energy independent and helping the environment.

“We have been working hard to get flex fuel pumps located across Nebraska,” said Kim Clark, director of biofuels development for the Nebraska Corn Board. “It has been a struggle to get more infrastructure installed, because of the commitment a fuel retailer has to make, so it’s exciting to see flex fuel pumps go into these three new locations.”

Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator said, “Ethanol saves motorist money at the pump. For a short period of time, ethanol prices were very close to gasoline, but now we are seeing a larger spread, and it is very economical to use ethanol-blended fuels, especially for flex fuel vehicles.”

Clark notes that one in 10 Nebraska motorists currently own a flex fuel vehicle which can run on any blend of ethanol and gasoline, up to E85, and they don’t even know it.

“If you have a yellow gas cap or a yellow ring around your gas port or see a flex fuel badge on your vehicle, you are driving a flex fuel vehicle,” Clark said. You can also confirm if a vehicle is flex fuel, by checking the owner’s manual.

Grand opening details for each location will be available at a later date.

These pumps were paid for in part by a grant provided by the Nebraska Corn Board. These locations are supporting the local economy and creating jobs by offering a homegrown, locally produced fuel, ethanol.

To find a list of retailers that offer E85 and other mid-level ethanol blends visit the www.ethanol.nebraska.gov or www.nebraskacorn.org.

10 Reasons to Use Ethanol-Blended Fuel this Summer

The choice at the gas pump is easier for Nebraskans in their summer travel and recreational plans this year. And that choice is renewable, cost-effective and builds a strong economy. Here are 10 reasons to use ethanol-blended fuel this summer.

1. The most affordable fuel.

The drastic rise of gas prices in the busy summer months hurts our pocketbooks. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) projection for the April-through-September summer driving season year is on average $3.61/gallon, 3 cents higher than last year. This year’s Memorial Day holiday saw drivers paying slightly more for gasoline than the previous two years, according to AAA. Thankfully, ethanol-blended fuel lowers gas prices up to $1.09 per gallon on average and saves the average American household $1,200 on their gas bill annually.

2. It’s renewable.

It’s no secret that Nebraska is the “Cornhusker” state and is notably the third largest corn producing state and second largest ethanol producing state in the nation. By growing 14 billion bushels of corn in the U.S. in 2013, corn is a renewable crop that provides for a reliable fuel source year after year. A recent poll by Fuels America found that 92 percent of U.S. adults support having renewable fuel at their local gas station, specifically E15 fuel – renewable fuel made of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.

3. Ethanol plants create food, feed and fuel.

An ethanol plant doesn’t just make fuel. When a bushel of corn travels to the plant to make fuel, it also makes food and other co-products in the process. Co-products include livestock feed called distillers grains, corn oil and other products that add to the food supply. In other words, we’re making food, feed and fuel. From one bushel of corn comes 2.8 gallons of ethanol in addition to 17 pounds of distillers grains. The strong ethanol industry in Nebraska is one of the main factors for the state’s recent status move into the number one cattle feeding state because of the availability of the high-protein, value-added distillers grains feedstuff.

4. Has not driven up food prices.

The price of corn is the lowest it’s been in three years, yet food prices have not come down. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) change in food prices index shows that food prices are going to continue to rise. So what is driving up food prices? Researchers at the World Bank identified crude oil as the number one determinant of global food prices; as the price of oil increases, food prices follow closely behind.

5. Builds up our state economy and growth of jobs.

Just in Nebraska alone, over 1,200 direct jobs are attributed to the ethanol industry, not to mention the hundreds of thousands indirect jobs across the country. Ethanol supports rural America, generating a $500 billion increase to communities’ farm assets around the country. When agriculture is healthy, the state economy is healthy.

6. Gives consumers a choice.

Ethanol, a renewable fuel, gives Nebraskans a choice when they go to fill up with gas. Those choices aren’t limited to the lower price of their gas bill, but also the chance to choose a domestic, clean-burning fuel that fuels our state’s economy as well. Those drivers with a flex fuel vehicle (FFV) have the choice to use any ethanol fuel blend up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).

7. Reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Compared with oil, ethanol-blended fuel burns cleaner and reduces harmful GHG emissions. Ethanol lowers the level of toxic, cancer-causing emissions in vehicle exhaust—reducing air pollution, improving human health, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

8. Ethanol is homegrown.

Ethanol has dramatically reduced the size of the checks America writes to foreign oil suppliers to the tune of $44 billion dollars saved last year. The U.S. reduced oil imports by 476 million barrels in 2013—the equivalent of about 12 percent of total U.S. crude oil imports, thanks to this renewable resource.

9. Use in boats and mowers.

With the summer months comes fun in the sun and in the yard. Ethanol-blended fuels up to 10 percent (E10) can be used successfully in marine watercraft and small engines, such as lawn mowers. Small engine owners should know that EPA has approved E15 only for automobiles manufactured in model year 2001 and newer, and it is not approved for any other engine use.

10. E15: tested and safe.

E15, fuel blended that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, has been the most aggressively and comprehensively tested fuel in the history of the EPA, which has been approved for its use in vehicles starting with the 2001 model year and newer. E15 saves more money at the pump, burns cleaner and supports our economy. NASCAR race cars have run more than 5 million miles on E15, starting with the 2011 racing season, and its drivers and mechanics give the fuel high marks for power and durability.

Kum & Go Offers E85 Fuel for $0.85/Gallon

Drivers of flex fuel vehicles will be able to fill up with E85 for just $0.85/gallon during four upcoming promotions at Omaha-area Kum & Go locations. E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline.

The promotions take place at Omaha Kum & Go locations as follows:

MONDAY, JUNE 16

  • 10 a.m. to noon at 168th Street just north of Maple in Omaha
  • 1-3 p.m. at 4443 S. 84th (Just south of I-80) in Omaha

TUESDAY, JUNE 17

  • 10 a.m. to noon at 108th & Giles Road in Papillion
  • 1-3 p.m. at 195th & West Center in Omaha

For more information, visit E85Omaha.com.

“One in ten drivers in Nebraska and Iowa has a flex fuel vehicle, but many of them don’t realize it,” said Kim Clark, director of biofuels development for the Nebraska Corn Board. “You can read your owner’s manual or check to see if you have a flex fuel insignia on your vehicle. If you’re driving an FFV, you can take advantage of this price promotion on E85.”

A flex fuel vehicle operates on any blend of gasoline and ethanol from E10 to E85 as well as regular unleaded gasoline. “You can fill up with any blend at any time in any amount because a computer in the fuel system automatically adjusts for the ratio of ethanol to gasoline,” Clark added. “It’s the ultimate in consumer choice.”

The E85 promotion is being sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Growth Energy in cooperation with Kum & Go.

Mowing Dilemma: High-ethanol Fuel May Ruin Small Motors

Original article published in the Lincoln Journal Star.

Tim Brodd has fixed small engines — lawn mowers, rototillers, chainsaws, string trimmers — since the early ’90s.

He started tinkering in the garage of his northeast Lincoln home and now owns a small business with six employees.

When he makes his monthly trip to get gas for his own yard machines, Brodd prefers fuel without ethanol, if it’s available, but he doesn’t go out of his way to find it.

It’s a choice backyard botanists, mechanics and boating enthusiasts face each time they head to the pump: Should they buy fuel blended with ethanol to run their small engines?

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a trade association representing more than 100 manufacturers and suppliers, says using gas with up to 10 percent ethanol is OK but warns against anything higher, unless the machine is specifically designed for it.

The organization has launched a public awareness campaign called “Look before you pump” aimed at keeping those higher blends out of the tanks of boats, utility vehicles, lawn mowers and power equipment.

“Midlevel ethanol fuels, E15 and other midlevel blends dispensed at blender pumps for flex fuel automobiles, will destroy outdoor power equipment and other non-road products,“ said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

“We think folks ought to be educated about it.”

Historically, Kiser said, the fuel paradigm was that whatever went in your car or truck could go in the gas can. And whatever went in the can could go in the boat, generator, chainsaw or mower.

“And for the first time in history, that isn’t the case. And putting a 3-by-3 pump label on an E15 pump and putting no label on a blender pump is frightening,” he said.

Equipment can safely use the most common ethanol blend, E10, but mixes with 15 percent ethanol and higher burn hotter, which can ruin engines and possibly cause unintentional clutch engagement — like a chainsaw that suddenly powers up its chain.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board says concerns are overblown and the campaign only serves to confuse consumers.

“In most communities in the state it is going to be difficult to find an E15 pump, unfortunately,” said Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller.

“The idea that there is some perceived threat out there is overblown. That is just not a realistic concern.”

Sneller said there are about 70 E15 pumps in the United States and they are marked as dispensing a fuel approved only for vehicles model 2001 and newer and for flexible fuel vehicles.

With 150 million people using 300 million non-road powered products, the labels on those E15 pumps aren’t enough, Kiser said.

“Everyone wants to call us anti-ethanol because we’re drawing attention to these fuels. We’re not. As engineers, we can build an engine to run anything. Except that the engines we’re building today are designed based on a certification of fuel given to us by the government,” he said.

The institute’s “Look before you pump” campaign graphics and written warnings will be at national retailers including Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and True Value, according to a news release.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association also plans to adopt it, Kiser said.

From a service standpoint, Brodd said fueling a lawn mower with E10 or a clear unleaded gas doesn’t make a huge difference. What does is not letting the fuel sit. Ethanol is an alcohol, which can absorb water.

“It is possible that alcohol will absorb moisture and that moisture will end up in the fuel system and cause corrosion issues and hard-starting, poor-performing engines,” Brodd said.

He recommended that if fuel, either ethanol or non-ethanol, sits in equipment more than three days it should be drained and to get new gas monthly.

“When my fuel gets within that 30-day window I will pour it in my vehicle, then the next time I go to the filling station I fill up the can and I have fresh fuel again,” Brodd said.

“That is usually the best prevention that you can do.”

The Advancement of Ethanol in Nebraska