How Ethanol Saves Iowa Motorists Money

How Ethanol Saves Iowa Motorists Money

Sales of the E10 ethanol blend have remained flat, but Iowans have saved $50 million by using ethanol so far this year.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) last week announced that Iowans choosing E10 blends have saved over $50 million during the first five months of 2011. Iowa Department of Revenue fuel sales figures released in late June showed ethanol sales steady at 75% of total gasoline sales, totaling over 500 million gallons from January through May. E10 blends averaged a 10-cent savings compared to E0 (non-ethanol gasoline) during that time.

"With the busy summer driving season upon us, it is important to remember that Iowans choosing E10 will keep more money in their wallets," says IRFA executive director Monte Shaw. "With high crude oil prices driving up the cost of nearly everything we buy, from food to clothing, it is nice to know ethanol is helping to reduce high gasoline prices."

Midwest consumers saved $1.37 per gallon on fuel, thanks to ethanol

A recent study by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University found that consumer savings from ethanol goes far beyond the price reduction at the pump. In 2010, Midwestern consumers saved an average of $1.37 per gallon because ethanol expanded the fuel supply and helped to drive down the cost of all gasoline products, regardless of ethanol content.

"Today, 25% of the gasoline produced from domestic resources is ethanol," says Shaw.  "Having ethanol as an affordable, domestic alternative to high priced foreign oil is paying big dividends for consumers, for jobs, for energy security." 

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing nearly 3.7 billion gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 315 million gallons annually.

IRFA makes statement on EPA's "Final E15 Rule" issued recently

Background:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in late June released its final rule outlining requirements for the sale of E15 (15% ethanol blend with gasoline) for use nationwide in model year 2001 and newer passenger vehicles. In response, IRFA executive director Monte Shaw made the following comments:

On the E15 rule: "IRFA members are grateful to the EPA for finalizing the rule.  It has been a long time coming, and while it is not what we had hoped for in every aspect, it does provide a pathway for moving E15 forward. We believe that Iowa is at the forefront of addressing the remaining issues and that some fuel retailers in Iowa will be offering E15 to motorists yet this year, for use by drivers of 2001 and newer passenger vehicles."

On the mandatory E15 pump label: "The Halloween pumpkin orange 'draft' label was apparently left to fade in the sun for a couple of months. That is a 'peachy' improvement. And most of the language changes were fair and add clarity. However, IRFA is very disappointed the EPA left in the 'may cause damage' warning for vehicles 2000 and older. The EPA admitted that they have 'insufficient' data to conclude that damage would occur, so I guess ethanol is guilty until proven innocent. Under the EPA's rationale, E0 (gasoline only) pumps should have a similar warning, because running a car on gasoline certainly degrades the emissions control system over time."

On NPRA's comments: "Big Oil will stop at nothing to protect their federal 90% petroleum mandate, including raising the specter of another anti-E15 lawsuit.  The big oil companies are clearly afraid that, given the choice, consumers will choose ethanol blends instead of using straight gasoline. Further, the National Petroleum Refiners Association's claim that they remain committed to selling "safe" fuel, as opposed to blends like E15, is laughable. This is the industry that chose lead over ethanol, chose MTBE over ethanol, and now would like to choose known human carcinogens like benzene over ethanol. Finally, I'm not a lawyer so we're going to have to look into whether NPRA's absurd comments on the inevitability of damage from misfueling are libelous."

On the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comments: "Sadly, some so-called environmental groups continue to fear farmers more than oil sands refiners. Ethanol takes less energy to refine and has a much lower greenhouse gas profile. Ethanol takes less water to produce. Ethanol reduces tailpipe emissions of smog forming pollutants, particulate emissions and human carcinogens. Yet the EWG is disappointed the E15 pump label wasn't a stronger warning and that the EPA didn't mandate similar labels for E10. Interestingly, the EWG didn't suggest similar warnings for gasoline-only fuels. It is disappointing how many so-called environmental groups have become pawns for Big Oil."

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.

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