From local communities where the crops are grown and processed, to cities where drivers fill up with domestically produced fuels, American-made ethanol is an economic engine for our state and contributes to the future of our entire nation.
American ethanol contributes to nearly 400,000 jobs added in agriculture, manufacturing and the service sector. It adds $42.4 billion to the gross domestic product and adds $29.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes and it helps us reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
"Iowa is in a unique position to have an abundant corn supply and have state-of-the-art ethanol production which equals economic success," says Kevin Rempp, a farmer from Montezuma who currently serves as chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.
Iowa leads the nation in production by creating nearly 30 percent of all ethanol. This has resulted in 74,000 new jobs for Iowans and accounts for $11 billion of Iowa's GDP.
Increased ethanol production means an increased demand for corn and Iowa corn growers are answering the call. Even in challenging years such as 2012, yields were maintained and corn supplies have been adequate. Today, U.S. corn farmers are working to increase yields. Currently farmers achieve an average of 169 bushels per acre, a 15 percent increase from the 146 bushels in 2001. This trend will only continue, as the average Iowa yield is expected to top the 200- bushel mark by 2020.
In addition, the value of each kernel has increased steadily since 2005-06. Traditionally, corn was harvested and exported from Iowa. Now, it's processed into ethanol or fed to livestock right here in Iowa. Iowa's traditional corn markets are consistent, and ethanol has served as a new market for increased yield and production to add value to every kernel.
"The fact that a high value-feed product also is produced in the ethanol process is often over looked," states Rempp. "The reality is that for every bushel of corn that goes into the ethanol plant, one third of that bushels comes out of the plant as distillers dried grains that is fed to livestock."
Building for the future
The Renewable Fuel Standard, which came into effect in 2005 and was reauthorized and expanded with strong bipartisan support in 2007 and promotes the production of home-grown renewable fuels, giving consumers an alternative to foreign petroleum.
RFS has allowed for expansion of the American ethanol industry by creating market certainty. It requires that by 2022, the U.S. fuel market blends 36 billion gallons of biofuels, with up to 15 billion gallons coming from corn-based ethanol.
"The RFS is the only major policy in the United States that is reducing our dependence on foreign oil," says Don Elsbernd of Postville, who serves on the Iowa Corn Growers Association. "It also provides consumers with lower energy costs and creates the necessary market conditions to encourage innovation in renewable energy. By requiring renewable fuel use, Congress has given investors the confidence that a market for biofuels will exist."
It is estimated that additional job creation from advanced biofuels production under the RFS could reach 807,000 by 2022.
Flex fuel vehicles
One way increase ethanol consumption is by using more in flex fuel vehicles that are designed to run on a variety of fuels, including regular unleaded, super unleaded (10 percent ethanol) or any blend of ethanol up to 85 percent.
There are nearly nine million FFVs on U.S. roadways and one in 10 vehicles in Iowa is an FFV. Iowa has over 175 E85 pumps out of the 2900 in the U.S. For more information on FFV models, visit www.iowacorn.org/ethanol.
In addition, there are more ethanol blended fuel choices than ever. The key component for retailing these fuel options to consumers is the ethanol flex fuel pump, which blends gasoline and E85 to make a variety of mid-range blends such as 15 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, or 85 percent ethanol.
Nearly every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States is blended with 10 percent ethanol. Last year, the EPA approved a waiver for 15 percent ethanol blended fuel for vehicles 2001 and newer. E15 is a new higher octane fuel that is approved for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles and all FFVs. The approved group of vehicles includes more than 62 percent of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today. What is more important is the fuel consumed by these vehicles constitutes more than 80 percent of the unleaded fuel sold. For more details visit www.iowacorn.org/ethanol or www.byoethanol.com.
Ethanol quick facts and figures:
•Iowa's ethanol industry has the capacity to produce more than 3.7 billion gallons annually, using more than 1.3 billion bushels of corn.
•One bushel of corn can produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol, with one-third returning as DDGs to feed livestock.
•Iowa leads the nation in production, creating nearly 30 percent of all U.S. ethanol. Each barrel of domestic ethanol displaces 1.2 barrels of imported petroleum.
•One out of every 10 vehicles in Iowa is a FFV.
•60 cents of every dollar spent filling up FFVs remains in Iowa.
•A ISU CARD study reported that thanks to ethanol U.S. consumers saved $1.09 per gallon in 2011. Consumers in the Midwest benefited more, saving $1.69 per gallon.
•More than 95 percent of all fuel sold in the United States is blended with 10 percent ethanol.
•While the U.S. imports 65 percent of its petroleum needs, domestic ethanol now reduces oil imports by 128,000 barrels each day.
•Producing ethanol requires less water than gasoline by a 3-to-1 margin.
•The ethanol industry has resulted in 74,000 new jobs in Iowa and accounts for $11 billion of Iowa's GDP.