Original article printed in Farm Progress Magazine.
Every time you fill up at the pump, American consumers are reminded of the strain gasoline puts on the family budget. With the constant volatility and chaos of global oil markets holding economies hostage, fuel consumers want and need choices at the pump, Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol board.
Domestically produced ethanol fuel provides that choice, he says. As the most effective alternative to gasoline, ethanol accounts for more than 10 percent by volume of U.S. motor fuel consumption.
Ethanol is the lowest cost alternative to gasoline, according to Sneller. In the first week of July, ethanol prices averaged $0.88/gallon less than gasoline at Midwest fuel terminals. For a vehicle traveling 12,000 miles per year, this translates to an annual fuel saving of $502.
Ethanol also significantly reduces crude oil imports that still account for 35 percent of U.S. consumption, Sneller adds. “Imported crude is one of the most significant elements of the U.S. annual trade deficit. Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas impacts of gasoline and is the fuel of choice in areas of the world where low carbon fuel standards dictate fuel composition.”
Ethanol displaces toxic chemicals used in the production of gasoline, he points out. For example, ethanol replaces benzene, a toxic carcinogen, used by U.S. oil refiners to boost octane in gasoline. The reduction or replacement of toxic gasoline chemicals in gasoline with ethanol reduces gasoline’s most harmful health and environmental effects.
“The economies of Nebraska and other Midwestern states are interwoven with the ethanol sector,” Sneller says. “Recent University of Nebraska studies describe the economic bounce in the state’s economy when the ethanol sector is fully operational. It is in the best interests of Nebraskans and Americans to insist that wise state and federal fuel standards that include ethanol be supported by policymakers.”