September 30, 2015

Renewable, Homegrown Fuels Provide Energy Independence

September is Renewable Fuels Month!
Part Four of a Four-Part Series for Renewable Fuels Month

Biodiesel and American Ethanol, two energy sources made from Nebraska soybeans and corn, that are homegrown, locally produced and contribute to our energy independence and security. To wrap-up Renewable Fuels Month this September, Nebraska farmers can celebrate these homegrown renewable fuels and the economic benefits they provide.

Last year, Nebraska farmers raised nearly 289 million bushels of soybeans and 1.6 billion bushels of corn – numbers they expect to grow in coming years. From these two crops, renewable fuel sources and distillers grains co-products are created right here in Nebraska.

These homegrown, renewable fuels and co-products greatly contribute to the economic vitality in Nebraska and across the United States. More than 1,500 people in rural Nebraska and more than 850,000 people nationwide are employed in the renewable fuels industry, according to a 2014 economic impact study released by the Fuels America coalition.

The economic report tells the story of an innovative, advanced biofuels industry that is benefiting America’s economy. Part of the effort contributing towards an expanded biofuels industry is attributed to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “The data is in: The RFS is driving billions of dollars of economic activity across America,” the report concludes. “This is the result of years of investment by the biofuel sector to bring clean, low carbon, renewable fuels to market.”

“There are some rural communities in Nebraska that probably wouldn’t have the opportunities they do today if it wasn’t for renewable fuels,” said David Merrell, farmer from St. Edward, Nebraska and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Renewable fuels support the local farmer and provide as much as $3 million in tax revenue for the state of Nebraska.”

The RFS program was expanded in 2007 to include biodiesel, increasing the amount of fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022, created new categories of renewable fuels including advanced, cellulosic, and conventional.  The program also evaluated the lifecycle of greenhouse gases to ensure each category was meeting a minimum threshold.

With the help of the RFS, renewable fuels now represent more than 10% of America’s fuel supply and have helped reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil to the lowest level in years.

“Each year we continue to produce more renewable fuels in the United States. In 2014, we reduced our imported crude oil by 512 million barrels and 1.75 billion gallons of imported petroleum diesel—that’s a clear sign the RFS is doing exactly what it was intended to do,” added Merrell.

The RFS is reducing our dependency on imported oil, providing a homegrown, locally-produced renewable fuel, creating jobs, providing tax revenue, and more.  Renewable fuels are a win-win situation for the farmers, rural communities and consumers.

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