We're seeing a repeat of 2008 when Americans were paying close to $4 a gallon for gasoline and the price of crude oil was around $100 per barrel. One of the few bright spots then, and now, is ethanol.
Not only is ethanol less expensive at the pump, it helps reduce our reliance on foreign oil, reduces greenhouse emissions, creates jobs, and it helps hold down the cost of oil.
The Renewable Fuels Association reports that last year ethanol sales in the U.S. amounted to just under 13 billion gallons. Nebraska, the second leading ethanol producer in the country, produced 13 percent of that total, or 1.7 billion gallons.
The 13 billion gallons of ethanol the U.S. used meant that we needed to import 445 million fewer barrels of oil. That's more oil than America imports every year from Saudi Arabia, our third leading supplier. By importing less oil we saved $34 billion. Next year, ethanol production is forecast to total almost 14 billion gallons and increase to 36 billion gallons by 2022 as provided for in the renewable fuels standard passed by Congress.
This is not the time to end advances we've made to expand the use of ethanol. Washington definitely needs to cut spending but must do it wisely and HR 1, the House budget bill that was defeated was anything but wise. It contained two anti-ethanol amendments that would have dealt a blow to America's efforts to expand consumer fuel choice of domestic renewable fuels by hampering the development of blender pumps and prohibiting EPA's implementation of E-15, which is scientifically proven to be safe.
Ethanol production is also contributing to our financial well-being as well as that of American households. In 2010, ethanol production contributed $53.6 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product and added $36 billion to household incomes.
In the current economic climate where federal, state, and local governments are running large deficits, ethanol is also having an impact. The increased economic activity and income generated by America's ethanol industry added some $12 billion to federal, state and local governments through increased tax revenue.
Besides saving money ethanol also benefits the environment. The U.S. Department of Energy says studies have shown that using corn-based ethanol instead of gasoline reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 19% to 52%. Using cellulosic ethanol provides an even greater benefit--reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86%.
Most people understand that ethanol is helping our economy and creating jobs while helping the U.S. in our battle for energy security and, just like in 2008, is again helping to hold down the price of fuel.