New Analysis Reaffirms Importance of Ethanol

Kelly MarshallCorn, Ethanol, NCGA, USDA

A brand new USDA analysis finds that U.S. corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent compared to gasoline, greater than previous estimates and something the ethanol industry has been saying for years.

Unlike other studies of GHG benefits, which relied on forecasts of future ethanol production systems and expected impacts on the farm sector, the new “Life-Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Based Ethanol” reviewed how the industry and farm sectors performed over the past decade to assess the current GHG profile of corn-based ethanol.

“Ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard are a true American success story,” says National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock.  “Corn farmers and ethanol producers are using less energy than ever before to produce cost-effective, clean and renewable fuel for consumers across the country and around the world. Today, USDA has reaffirmed what we already know: ethanol does more than just save consumers money at the gas pump, it’s also better for the environment.”

The report also found that corn-based ethanol is projected to increase to a 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction and could potentially reach 76 percent in 2022 if there is more widespread adoption of optimal crop production and biorefinery efficiency. “This is not your grandfather’s ethanol industry,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen in a statement about the new report. “Today’s farmers and ethanol producers use less energy than ever before, have lowered costs with new value-added markets and technologies, and evolved into the most cost-effective, cleanest-burning source of octane on the planet. Moreover, as this study proves, concerns about land use change were terribly overblown, and U.S.-produced corn ethanol is a stone-cold winner for the environment, providing dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Click to read the report.