Ethanol Facts: Consumers

Using ethanol in the U.S. fuel marketplace helps lower gasoline prices by expanding gasoline supplies and reducing the need for importing expensive, high-octane, petroleum-based gasoline components or more crude oil from unstable parts of the world like the Middle East.

Visit www.ChooseEthanol.com for consumer information about ethanol, including a listing of FFVs to help consumers identify if they are driving one, and tools to help drivers find ethanol fueling locations in their neighborhood, including free downloadable apps.

FACT: Ethanol saves consumers money at the pump.

Adding some 13 billion gallons to the nation's motor fuel pool - and blending it with gasoline in E10 - has a similar effect to the U.S. oil industry finding a way to extract 10% more gasoline from a barrel of oil.  Since the supply of motor fuel is increased, there is a downward pressure on prices.  A study by Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin found that in 2010, domestic ethanol production helped keep gasoline prices $0.89 lower per gallon than they otherwise would have been. For the first decade of the 2000’s, the researchers found ethanol’s price-lowering impact averages $0.25 per gallon. Source: “The Impact of Ethanol Production on US and Regional Gasoline Markets: An Update to May 2009,” Xiaodong Du and Dermot J. Hayes, April 2011.  A May 2010 report found that the average American household is saving approximately $200-400 per year on gasoline because of ethanol's inclusion in the U.S. fuel supply.

FACT: Today, ethanol is blended in nearly every gallon of unleaded gasoline sold in the U.S. 

FACT: In 2013, the production of 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol supported 86,504 direct jobs in renewable fuel production and agriculture.  An additional 300,277 indirect and induced jobs were supported across all sectors of the economy. 

These are quality jobs in fields like engineering, chemistry, and accounting that provide a good wage and important benefits.  According to a 2013 Ethanol Producer Magazine survey, these are quality jobs, with more than 46% earning more than $75,000 per year and another 45% earning between $40,000 and $74,999.  96% of respondents receive health care benefits and 92% had retirement plans.
Source: Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States

FACT: In 2013, the U.S. ethanol industry helped raise household income $30.7 billion, money that flows directly into the pockets of American consumers.  The industry also contributed $44 billion to the national GDP and paid $8.3 billion in taxes.
Source: Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States

FACT: Ethanol delivers more energy than is used to produce it.  

Whether produced from corn or other biomass feedstocks, ethanol generates more energy than used during production. Plants used in ethanol production harness the power of the sun to grow. By releasing the energy stored in corn and other feedstocks, ethanol production utilizes solar energy, replacing fossil energy use. A 2004 U.S. Department of Agriculture Study of ethanol production - from the field to the vehicle - found that ethanol yields 67% more fossil energy than is used to grow and harvest the grain and process it into ethanol. The study makes note of significant energy efficiency improvements that have been made in ethanol production due to higher yielding corn varieties, technological advances in ethanol production such as the use of molecular sieves and natural gas, and improved farming practices (precision and no-till farming.)  According to a University of California-Berkeley study, "Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals," the production of ethanol reduces petroleum use 95% as compared to gasoline refining.

FACT: The use of ethanol reduces harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In 2013, ethanol use in the U.S. reduced greenhouse gas emissions from on-road vehicles by 37.9 million metric tons.  That's equivalent to removing 7.9 million cars from the road for one year.  (Source: GREET Model)

Resources:

For more consumer-based information, including tools to help drivers find ethanol fueling locations in their neighborhoods and information on flex-fuel vehicles, visit www.ChooseEthanol.com.

Last updated:  March 2014