Advanced biofuels create jobs, lower prices at the pump, says Senate Ag chair

April 9, 2014 |

stabenow-committeeIn Washington, the Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday held a hearing on the economic benefits of advanced biofuels in creating jobs and lowering gasoline prices.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said that advanced, non-food based biofuels are critical to growing our economy, creating jobs and lowering prices at the pump for American consumers.

“We’ve heard for years that advanced biofuels are just around the corner. Well, we’re here. We’re at the point where it’s actually happening,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. She pointed to an Iowa State University study which found that using ethanol reduced the cost of gas by 89 cents across the country, and by as much as $1.37 in the Midwest.

The 2014 Farm Bill, authored by Chairwoman Stabenow, included significant new investments in renewable energy programs which are helping farmers and businesses generate on-farm energy by harnessing new technologies. An overview of the Farm Bill’s energy initiatives can be found here.

“To continue growing this industry, we need policies that support it,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. “This Committee and Congress took an important first step by passing the Farm Bill with funding for the Energy Title, now we need to provide certainty through a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and tax credits to support long term investments in our energy future.”

Jan Koninckx, global business director for Biorefineries at DuPont, called on Congress to preserve the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has spurred hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment in advanced biofuels and is expediting the transition from a petroleum-based to a bio-based global economy.

“The bottom line here is that driven by the RFS, we have completely re-imagined how we fuel our planet.  We do so with renewable resources without adding any additional CO2 into the atmosphere.  It is a remarkable achievement.  And when you look at this from the perspective of a science company – this has actually gone quite fast,” said Koninckx.

Koninckx concluded, “Since its enactment, the RFS has made homegrown renewable fuel 10 percent of our nation’s gasoline supply, lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 33.4 million metric tons, added $500 billion in value to America’s farmlands, lowered gas prices by $1.09 per gallon and created a real choice at the pump.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard is working as intended.  2014 is a watershed in our history as an industry – the year we take this technology commercial – and a critical year for all parties to remain steadfast in their commitment to biofuels.”

In response to the hearing, Growth Energy CEO, Tom Buis, added, “I am grateful to Sen. Stabenow for taking the time to investigate the true impact of biofuels on our nation’s economy. First generation biofuels have created nearly 400,000 jobs, revitalized our rural communities and have reduced our dependence on foreign oil while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These first generation fuels have set the foundation for further advancements in next generation ethanol, including deriving the fuel from sources such as farm waste, plants, and wood waste. With over a billion tons of available biomass, the potential for advanced biofuels are limitless.

Leticia Phillips, UNICA’s representative in North America commented “Sugarcane ethanol plays a modest but important role supplying the United States with clean renewable fuel.  Last year, even though Brazilian sugarcane ethanol comprised only 3% of all renewable fuel consumed by Americans, it provided 15% of the U.S. supply of advanced biofuels.  Experts expect those proportions to continue in 2014. America imported nearly 435 million gallons of Brazilian sugarcane ethanol in 2013 – roughly half of all Brazilian biofuel exports last year.”

The complete video of the hearing can be viewed here.

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