More than a decade ago, Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. The RFS is working.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions – Data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory illustrates that ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34 percent compared with gasoline. Moreover, advanced biofuels have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 percent.
Expanding the nation’s fuels sector lowers prices consumers pay for gasoline and our nation’s dependence on oil imports – According to Growth Energy, there are more than 1,400 retail locations across 30 states selling E15. The vast majority of these locations are also selling E85 at blender pumps and making both available at nearly every dispensing location.
Greater access to E15 during the high-volume, gasoline consumption summer months will further reduce our dependence on imported oil. Consumers deserve choice, especially during the summer when gasoline prices are higher. Allowing year-round sales of E15 would increase demand for ethanol, increase the supply of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) available for compliance, and thus lower gasoline prices. The Renewable Fuels Association reports that use of E15 year-round would help consumers across the country save approximately $45 billion on gasoline, or $386 per household.
Any volume reductions in 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) set in law would likely increase prices at the pump. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the 2019 RVOs that, combined with economic hardship waivers, has a reduction in the mandate from 2016 by 790 million RINs and by 1.46 billion RINS from 2017.
On July 10, as we celebrate U.S. Energy Independence Day, we see how consumers clearly benefit from the reduced cost of ethanol and lower emissions. Equally important is that rural America, specifically small towns and communities, benefit greatly as well. Syngenta’s Enogen® corn is one example of a technology advancement that allows ethanol plants to pay premiums to corn growers and enable them to be enzyme suppliers for their local ethanol plants. These dollars are substantial: farmer premiums paid over the past few years are expected to surpass $100 million during 2018. According to data from Iowa State University, these premiums create an additional $63 million in economic activity for a total of $163 million in cumulative economic benefit to the region.
Earth-friendly American ethanol has become an important success story. During 2017 alone, the ethanol industry created and supported nearly 360,000 jobs and contributed roughly $45 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – a number exceeding the total GDP of many countries. And, the production of more than 15 billion gallons of ethanol meant that the U.S. needed to import approximately 532 million fewer barrels of crude oil to meet the country’s demand for gasoline. Predictable and consistent growth in renewable fuels is important for our nation. That’s why it is front and center now.
David Hollinrake leads Syngenta’s seed business in North America, with a focus on meeting the needs of customers and helping deliver top genetics, traits and agronomic support. Prior to joining Syngenta in 2017, David served as Vice President of North America Marketing and Portfolio Management for Bayer CropScience LP, where he led the company’s 10-year business strategy and the reorganization of its U.S. marketing and portfolio teams.