Opinion: Flex Fuel infrastructure key to U.S. energy independence
By Guest Author
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
By Ponsi Trivisvavet, President, Syngenta Seeds, Inc.
Since its inception, the ethanol industry has had a profoundly positive impact on the U.S. economy - and on rural America. Ethanol is adding jobs in rural communities, and spurring the innovation of new technologies. Ethanol is fueling rural America's future - one community at a time.
In 2014 alone, the ethanol industry created and supported nearly 400,000 new jobs across the country, while contributing nearly $53 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and generating more than $5.7 billion in federal tax revenues.1
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is driving billions of dollars of economic activity across America. This activity creates a ripple effect as supplier firms and employees re-spend throughout the economy. The result is clear: $184.5 billion of economic output, 852,056 jobs, $46.2 billion in wages and $14.5 billion in taxes each year.2
And, biofuels are cleaner than imported fossil fuels. It is imperative for our environment that we continue to strive to develop domestic alternative energy solutions that are a positive for the planet. Part of the impetus for the creation of the RFS was not only energy independence, but also the environmental benefit that would occur from the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG's). With full implementation of the RFS, GHG emissions would be reduced 138 million metric tons by 2022, which is the equivalent of taking 27 million cars off the road.3
Today is U.S. Energy Independence Day, a time to celebrate ethanol. Syngenta announced recently that it will donate approximately $600,000 to the Prime the Pump Fund, an ethanol industry initiative created to help the early retail adopters of high-level ethanol blends by awarding grants to reduce their initial investment in infrastructure. The Syngenta donation is part of a commitment initiated in 2013 to contribute $1 to the ethanol industry for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology - and is being extended through 2016.
For the ethanol industry to enjoy sustainable success, there needs to be an increase in demand. As the ethanol blend wall has dramatically slowed demand, many steps have been taken to increase ethanol's availability in the U.S. market. Most notable was when the EPA allowed the use of gasoline blends containing as much as 15 percent ethanol in vehicle models from 2001 and newer. But the approval of E15 was just the first step.
That's why the Prime the Pump Fund was formed. The Syngenta dollar-per-acre donation supports the Prime the Pump Fund's strategy of aiding high-volume, progressive-minded, industry-leading fuel retailers, who will demonstrate the performance, cost savings and profit opportunity of marketing higher ethanol blends.
Ethanol has an octane rating of 113, making higher-level ethanol blends ideal for fueling high performance vehicles. As automakers move to smaller, higher compression, direct injection engines in order to meet the more stringent greenhouse gas and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards, they need higher octane fuels to operate efficiently.
According to Growth Energy, E15 is approved for all vehicles model year 2001 and newer, which accounts for 84 percent of all vehicles on the road. And, nearly 20 million vehicles are approved for any blend of ethanol up to 85 percent ethanol.
The widespread availability of flex-fuel vehicles - as well as those eligible to use E15 - demonstrates that there is a market ready for a less expensive, higher octane, more environmentally friendly alternative fuel. Clearly, we have the vehicles capable of using blends higher than E10, but consumers need greater access to stations capable of providing it. Efforts like Prime the Pump will help make that access a reality.
Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions, and growing the economy with jobs that can't be outsourced. Syngenta is proud to partner with corn growers and the ethanol industry to help provide consumers with the choice to purchase a superior, higher octane fuel and pay less.
3Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
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