Corn Commentary

It Could Always Be Worse

Looking around while pumping gas at a local filling station yields a bounty of scowls, grimaces and a plethora of pained facial expressions these days.  With gas prices creeping steadily upwards, it is hard to imagine how much worse it could be, but, without ethanol, it would.

Last week during the General Session of Commodity Classic 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke passionately about the service farmers provide in growing the fuel stock for ethanol which he cited as reducing gas prices by a full dollar per gallon.

A dollar?  Just the word in and of itself sounds so small.  Panhandlers, charities and elementary school-aged children alike know that asking for such a negligible amount frequently often receives the desired response whereas requesting a larger lump-sum generally does not.  But, if add the phrase “per gallon” as a suffix, a dollar suddenly seems like an amount capable of impacting the national economy.

Research beyond the Secretary’s address confirmed that ethanol does play a sizable role in keeping gas prices down in the United States.  While information substantiating the dollar claim did not appear within the first few options Google presented, confirmation of the impressive relationship from well-respected sources did.

Economists from Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin found that the use of more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol reduced gasoline prices by an average of 89 cents per gallon in 2010. In real world terms, this amounts to $800 in savings last year for the average family of four as calculated by the Renewable Fuels Association in their explanation of ethanol’s impact.

Most Americans feel the pinch of a slow economy.  It is time to stand up for ethanol, a sustainable, domestically-produced fuel that already provides real savings for real people.  Click here to tell Washington that you support the Renewable Fuel Standard; keep ethanol in our tanks and hard-earned cash in our wallets.