Why is Ethanol Important?

Ethanol is a win for all Americans.

Ethanol, a renewable fuel, has been blended in gasoline in the U.S. for over 40 years, helping reduce vehicle emissions, improve air quality, increase our energy independence, lower consumer fuel prices, and provide value-added markets for American farmers.

Providing Consumer Options

We know Americans are looking for more competition and greater savings for the fuel that powers their vehicles. Nearly all U.S. gasoline today contains 10 percent ethanol, and the use of 15 percent ethanol blends and flex fuels like E85 is increasing. 15 percent ethanol blends (E15) are higher quality fuels that offer greater savings. The EPA has approved E15 use in more than 90 percent of the existing U.S. auto fleet, and 9 out of 10 new cars carry the manufacturer’s warranty and approval for E15.

Ethanol Plants are Creating Jobs and Helping Fuel the U.S. Economy

In 2020, the industry directly employed more than 62,000 American workers and supported an additional 242,600 indirect and induced jobs across the economy. Nearly one in five of those workers is a veteran of the U.S. military. The ethanol industry generated $34.7 billion in gross domestic product and boosted household income by $18.6 billion.  

Boosting Rural Economies

Ethanol and feed co-product production provide a valuable market for corn grown in the United States. A typical dry mill ethanol plant adds nearly $2 of additional value – or 55 percent – to every bushel of corn processed.

A Cleaner, Greener Fuel

Ethanol is responsible for removing the carbon equivalent of 20 million cars from the road. At the same time, the environmental impacts of producing ethanol have been greatly reduced. Natural gas and electricity use at dry mill ethanol plants has fallen nearly 40 percent since 1995, while consumptive water use has been cut in half. This has occurred while the amount of ethanol produced from a bushel has increased. Producers are getting 15 percent more ethanol from a bushel of corn than 20 years ago. The result? A smaller carbon footprint and an increase in energy efficiency. Ethanol use reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45 percent compared to gasoline–even when hypothetical land-use change emissions are included. By displacing hydrocarbon substances like aromatics in gasoline, ethanol also helps reduce emissions of air toxics, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and exhaust hydrocarbons.

Driving Energy Independence

It’s more affordable than traditional gasoline, reduces harmful vehicle emissions, supports nearly 300,000 American jobs, and protects America’s energy independence. In 2020, ethanol helped protect America’s energy independence by displacing nearly 500 million barrels of crude oil.

Producing Food AND Fuel

Ethanol biorefineries make more than fuel; they also generate highly nutritious animal feed like distillers grains. One-third of every bushel processed by a plant is used to make animal feed. The low cost and nutritional properties of distillers grains make it one of the most sought-after feed ingredients in the world.