2012 – 211 ethanol plants produce 13.3 billion gallons
That’s 3700 percent growth in 30 years, pretty impressive. As the ethanol industry’s biggest customer, we have provided the demand to fuel much of that growth. Unfortunately, RFA follows these statistics with a list of “facts” that couldn’t be further from factual, presumably to support the unworkable Renewable Fuel Standard(RFS) that is becoming increasingly difficult to defend. Let’s take a look at a couple of the most problematic claims in RFA’s video:
“Last year, ethanol displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 462 million barrels of imported crude oil. That’s more oil than we imported from Saudi Arabia.”
First of all, ethanol is primarily an additive TO gasoline, not a replacement FOR gasoline. Ethanol can only act as a replacement to gasoline when it is sold as E85 (fuel that contains up to 85 percent ethanol). More than 99 percent of ethanol sold is used as an additive to gasoline, typically making up 10 percent of a gallon of E10 fuel. In 2012, only 100.2 million gallons of E85 were sold. This means that ethanol sold as a fuel, rather than an additive, has “displaced” 50.7 million gallons of gasoline, after accounting for ethanol’s lower energy content, which we explained in a post last week. To put this in context, the U.S. consumes approximately 352 million gallons of gasoline every day.
“And it means the U.S. reduced expenditures on imported oil by $44 billion last year.”
The U.S. Census Bureau tracks foreign trade and reported earlier this year that the U.S. spent $18.7 billion less on crude oil imports in 2012 than in 2011. This number is far lower than the $44 billion RFA takes credit for, and these savings are the result of increased domestic oil production, reduced fuel consumption due to the recession, more fuel-efficient vehicles and some biofuel consumption, not ethanol alone.
We would like to see RFA come to the table and work with us toscrap the current unworkable RFS and formulate a real policy. But this will not be possible if RFA instead prefers to pursue a campaign of false facts and misinformation.