May 28, 2012

Reaching Energy Independence


By Kim Clark, ag program manager for the Nebraska Corn Board

“And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”  -Lee Greenwood

Did you ever think these words would be so true.  Memorial Day is a day to remember those that have served our country and fought for the freedom we have today.  Some of those soldiers never returned home to their loved ones.  They died serving our country.  For what? – our independence! 

What does independence mean to you?  Is it your freedom of religion, choice, speech, right to bear arms? 

The definition of independence according to the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary is: “Freedom from control: freedom from independence on or control by another person, organization, or state.”  This independence includes energy independence. 

Energy independence is reducing our dependency on imported oil-the oil that some of our soldiers are protecting overseas.  Last year, 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol displaced 485 million barrels of imported oil.   According to the Energy Information Administration, each day, the US imports over 8.9 million barrels of crude oil of which 4 million barrels are from OPEC countries, but this number is decreasing with ethanol fuel.  Of the oil imported, 71% is used for transportation. 

The best and easiest way to reached energy independence is to take advantage of our home-grown, renewable fuel produced right here in United States-ethanol.  Nebraska is the second largest producer of ethanol, about 2 billion gallons each year. 

There are over 120,000 flex fuel vehicles (FFV) in Nebraska that can use up to 85% ethanol fuel and this number is increasing each day.  FFV owners have a choice at the pump.  This choice reduces the amount of crude oil the US needs to import each year.   Even if you don’t drive a FFV, you can still fill up your gasoline vehicle with E10-a blend of 10% ethanol.   You, too, can reduce the US foreign oil dependency.

Energy independence reduces our dependence on imported oil, creates thousands of jobs, contributes to local, state and federal tax revenue, increases household income, reduces the price at the pump, and more.

As you remember the Memorial Day and the reason for the holiday, you can help the US achieve energy independence by filling up with ethanol fuel.  

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