This week, Dave Loos of IL Corn is attending the National Ethanol Conference, hearing more about America’s ethanol industry and the challenges it faces. Today, he heard from Bob Dinneen, CEO and President of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) in Washington, DC.
Dinneen shared that ethanol has fundamentally improved the nation’s energy future, rural economies, and way of life.
“As the U.S. ethanol industry has grown, America’s dependence on imported oil has fallen,” Dinneen pointed out, specifically noting:
• Ethanol now accounts for one out of every four gallons of fuel (for gasoline vehicles) produced from domestic energy sources.
• In 2000, 55% of our gasoline supply came from imported oil and 1% came from ethanol. Today, ethanol makes up 10% of our gasoline supply, and oil imports have dropped to 45%.
• On a cumulative basis, ethanol has accounted for 81% of new domestic fuel production since 2005. Since the start of the RFS, on a net basis, America’s ethanol industry has added 838 million barrels of new fuel to our energy supply, compared to 197 million barrels of new oil production.
As Dinneen highlights, “Perhaps the most telling evidence of the state of the ethanol industry and the success that it has become is the economic revitalization happening all across rural America. Ethanol has become the single most important value added market for farmers, stimulating investment and allowing farmers to get their income from the marketplace, not the taxpayer. That’s not theory, that’s a fact.”
Ethanol has helped contribute to a period of prosperity for all of rural America driven by the market and not the federal government. For instance, government payments that are a function of crop price were nearly zero in 2011, compared to $11 billion in 2005 – the first year of the Renewable Fuel Standard. All of this is happening as net farm income is expected to increase to more than $100 billion for the first time in history.
Illinois Corn and its leadership agree in the power of ethanol demand to build a strong market for Illinois corn with strong prices for Illinois farmers. And we will continue to invest in the future of ethanol in Illinois.