Have you fueled up your vehicle lately at the local gas station? You have probably noticed that you aren't paying what you did a month go for the fuel you are putting into your vehicle. According to AAA, the national average for gas a month ago was $3.33 where today the national average is at $3.77. In a month's time frame, gas prices have rose 44 cents. It seems like every time I fill up these days, I always cringe when I see what my total bill is for the gas that I put in my vehicle. Yet, while we might be paying higher prices for regular gasoline, we do have other choices that uses different blends of ethanol, such as E10, E15, and E85.
While we are fortunate to have these other choices, I do wonder how long we will be able to have these choices at the pump in the future. Unfortunately, there are industries who oppose ethanol and would like to see the ethanol industry go away. The biggest opponent of ethanol is the oil industry. They claim that ethanol is to blame for the increase in gas prices and that ethanol is cutting into their profits. However, the food industry is also starting to take a harsher tone against ethanol production blaming the ethanol industry for the rise in food prices. Both industries have been lobbying heavily in Washington D.C. to get congress to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which has lead to the increased production of ethanol. If these industries were able to get congress to repeal the RFS, it would be devastating to all of America.
Now, you are probably wondering why repealing the RFS would be devastating to America. Well first and foremost, the RFS has allowed us to produce our own green energy right here in America. Unlike oil, we don't import ethanol from countries in the Middle East and we aren't giving money to countries that don't cooperate with the U.S. Instead, our dollars stay right here in the U.S. and goes to our local communities. Another positive thing about the RFS is that it has created jobs. The ethanol industry can be linked to creating over 90,200 jobs directly and 311,400 jobs indirectly. With many industries laying off employees over the past few years, the ethanol industry has actually been adding jobs due to the demand that the RFS has created.
While the RFS is a job creator and helps keep dollars in the U.S. it is also a vital part of rural America. Many of the jobs that the ethanol industry has created are located in rural communities all across America. This then directly impacts businesses in the local communities as well as local school districts. When there are people in rural America, there is spending in local businesses as well as higher enrollment numbers in the local schools. The RFS has also made it possible for children to return to the family farm. Farming has been much better since the RFS has been established allowing farmers to make necessary upgrades to their farms and also has improved the lifestyle of a farmer. This has made it more appealing for younger generations to return to the family farm in rural America. Lastly, the RFS allows drivers to have a choice at the pump. Instead of paying $3.77 a gallon for regular gasoline, a driver can fuel up with E85 at $3.33 (Drivers can only fuel up with E85 if they drive a flex fuel vehicle).
So as a person can see, the RFS has a major impact on America. It not only gives us a choice at the pump, but also has helped the economy in rural communities. As a driver, farmer, and a person who lives in rural America, I can see the importance of the RFS since I am directly impacted by it. I am able to purchase a cheaper and greener fuel, return and be part of my family's farm, and live in a community that has benefited from ethanol production. So there is a need for the RFS and I hope that those in congress will be able to see and understand how vital the RFS is to America!
To learn more about the Ethanol Industry, visit these organizations:
Renewable Fuels Association
Renewable Fuel Standard