Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen spoke this morning at the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando. He made the case that the emergence and continued growth of domestic ethanol production has been active in fundamentally improving the nation’s energy future, rural economies and way of life.
Dinneen went on to describe the effort of the Iowa RFA during the Iowa caucuses in their “fueled with pride” grassroots education effort. The purpose was to engage candidates in a conversation about energy policy, forcing the candidates to each be on record with their view of the RFS, E15, ethanol infrastructure, and a fair tax policy.
Dinneen said there was a positive result to their effort.
Dinneen said that as the U.S. ethanol industry has grown, America’s dependence on imported oil has fallen, specifically pointing out that:
- Ethanol now accounts for one out of every four gallons of fuel (for gasoline vehicles) produced from domestic energy sources.
- In 2000, 55% of our gasoline supply came from imported oil and 1% came from ethanol. Today, ethanol makes up 10% of our gasoline supply, and oil imports have dropped to 45%.
- On a cumulative basis, ethanol has accounted for 81% of new domestic fuel production since 2005. Since the start of the RFS, on a net basis, America’s ethanol industry has added 838 million barrels of new fuel to our energy supply, compared to 197 million barrels of new oil production.
Dinneen said, “Perhaps the most telling evidence of the state of the ethanol industry and the success that it has become is the economic revitalization happening all across rural America. Ethanol has become the single most important value added market for farmers, stimulating investment and allowing farmers to get their income from the marketplace, not the taxpayer. That’s not theory, that’s a fact.”
Dinneen spoke about how ethanol has helped contribute to a period of prosperity for all of rural America driven by the market and not the federal government. For instance, government payments that are a function of crop price were nearly zero in 2011, compared to $11 billion in 2005 – the first year of the Renewable Fuel Standard. All of this is happening as net farm income is expected to increase to more than $100 billion for the first time in history.
The innovation and contribution of America’s ethanol industry to date is just a sampling of what is possible, according to Dinneen.