The ethanol producers of Nebraska and throughout the country got a big boost with the new year when a federal judge decided to block a tighter fuel standard in California from going into effect that would have cut back on the amount of ethanol going to California from producers here in the middle of the country.
This ruling is good news for Nebraska's many ethanol producers who would have been shut out of the California market by unfair rules that created inefficiencies in state to state commerce, while failing to recognize renewable fuels such as ethanol are part of the ultimate strategy for improving our environment and reducing our reliance on foreign fuels.
The ruling comes at an important time as the federal ethanol subsidy expired on January 1st, so any reduction in the market would have been unfortunate to say the least. As it is, ethanol has a good future. We've seen to that in Congress with passage of the energy bill a few years ago.
The energy bill improves vehicle efficiency while increasing production of renewable fuels. By 2022, 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels must be used annually. That's enough to displace 11.3 billion barrels of crude oil and reduce the outflow of dollars to foreign oil producers by $817 billion between 2008 and 2022. That will add $1.7 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product, 1.1 million new jobs, and generate $209 billion in new federal tax receipts.
The newest standards set for 2012 will include a mandate to blend 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuel this year. This also includes an 8.65 million-gallon requirement for cellulosic biofuels, 1 billion-gallon requirement for biomass-based diesel, and 2 billion gallon requirement for advanced biofuels. These new standards reaffirm the base corn-ethanol will continue to play in the U.S. renewable fuel production, while providing the framework in developing advanced biofuels which can be produced nationwide.
Just think what ethanol means for America. It's a cleaner burning, renewable fuel that cuts down on the amount of foreign oil the U.S. needs to import. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, in 2010 ethanol displaced 445 million barrels of oil. That's 445 million barrels of oil we won't have to import from other countries.
Ethanol is also good for America creating more than 400,000 jobs in all sections of the economy nationwide. In Nebraska, the ethanol industry provides more than 1,300 jobs, while producing as much as 2 billion gallons a year from 25 plants... quite a change from when I first became governor and there was just one plant.
Nebraska has always had a commitment to ethanol as have I because it's good for the economy, the environment and America's fight for energy independence.