February 11, 2010

Biofuels will save us $41.5 billion on oil imports in 2022

Thanks to the blizzard, the Des Moines Register's Philip Brasher had some time to dig through the 1,120-page regulatory impact analysis that the Environmental Protection Agency published last week on the Renewable Fuels Standard. (He pointed out that "this tome isn’t to be confused with the 418-page preamble... ." I didn't make it through the preamble, so I appreciate Brasher's efforts.)

You can read Brasher's post here.

One of the nuggets Brasher found was that EPA estimates that when 36 billion gallons of biofuels are in our fuel system in 2022, oil imports would drop some 9.5 percent, or 900,000 barrels a day. If you prefer a dollars and cents perspective, that means we'd save $41.5 billion on oil and petroleum product imports in 2022.

Brasher also noted that: Consumers should barely notice any difference of the coming increase in ethanol and biodiesel production in their food bills. Food costs would rise by about $10 per person a year by 2022. In 2007, Americans spent $3,778 per person on food, about 10 percent of their total income. The increased use of biofuel byproducts for feed would keep meat prices from rising as much as they otherwise would. (Emphasis added.)

"Biofuel byproducts" is code for "distillers grains," which is a tremendous feed ingredient produced by corn ethanol plants. (For more on distillers grains and the RFS, click here.)

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