Gasoline prices were high in 2011, but it would have been much worse without the presence of ethanol in the U.S. market, according to a peer-reviewed study released today by economists at the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University.
The study, released by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, showed that drivers in Colorado saved $1.11 per gallon of gasoline pumped in 2011, which accounts to an average of a little more than $1,200 per household.
“It’s important to note that these savings are not just from drivers who use flex-fuel cars,” said Mark Sponsler, executive director of the Colorado Corn Growers Association. “These savings are for everyone who filled their tanks last year.”
The study showed that the national average for saving was $1.09 a gallon. Colorado, and the Rocky Mountain region, was slightly better than that average because of the ethanol plants in the region.
In 2011, the total savings for the United States was about $140 billion.
“Big Oil doesn’t like ethanol because it is displacing more and more of their product. Much of that oil comes from places that are typically not friendly with the United States,” Sponsler added. “We’re OK with them not liking us. It means we are doing something right. The truth is ethanol saves people money, is better for the environment, is produced and grown right here in the U.S. and is a wonderful renewable energy source.”
To see the full study, go to http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/synopsis.aspx?id=1166
The study touches on just the economic benefits to consumers from ethanol. Dan Sanders, manager of Front Range Energy, an ethanol plant in Windsor, said the economic benefits go far beyond what you see at the pump.
“The ethanol industry now supports 400,000 high-paying jobs across the nation – jobs that can’t be outsourced. More than 200 biorefineries in 29 states employ American workers, buy grain from American farmers, and pay local, state and federal taxes. The industry contributed more than $42 billion to the Gross Domestic Product in 2011 and generated nearly $30 billion in household income,” he said.
“By enhancing the value of the agricultural commodities produced by American farmers, the emergence of biofuels has helped to significantly reduce farm program payments over the past decade. Payments to farmers have fallen by nearly 60% since 2005, amounting to $11 billion in reduced government spending,” Sanders added.
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The Colorado Corn Growers Association and Colorado Corn Administrative Committee work on behalf of more than 4,000 corn producers through market development, communications, research, and technical assistance. See more about the work of both organizations at www.coloradocorn.com .