Like the little kid in the schoolyard getting picked on by a bully, the ethanol industry is tired of getting beaten up in the mainstream media.
The average consumer needs to learn that ethanol is a clean, economic and renewable source of fuel, Robert White, who spoke at the Kansas Commodity Classic in Salina earlier this month. He touted the formation of a new coalition called Renewable Fuels Now, which has developed an advertising and public relations campaign that addresses many of the negative perceptions about ethanol. The group's Web address is www.renewablefuelsnow.org.
Simply, "we're tired of getting kicked in the teeth," says White, interim executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. "When one oil company reports a $9.8 billion profit in one quarter (as ExxonMobil did in the 2007 3rd Quarter), and gasoline prices are averaging 89 cents per gallon more than a year ago, there is some explaining to do."
The world needs 85 million barrels of oil per day, yet it only produces 83 million barrels, says White. Without ethanol, motorists would have to pay 43 cents per gallon more for gasoline than today's average of $3.00 per gallon. For every $1 increase in the price per barrel of oil, the world's jet fuel costs increase $470 million per year, White says.
And increased energy prices hit every segment of the economy, he adds: "Soaring energy costs force consumers to cut back on holiday shopping."
The Renewable Fuels Now campaign will illustrate all these facts, and moreover, hammer home the point that petroleum gasoline costs $1 more per gallon than E85 ethanol, and that ethanol continues to be an integral ingredient in this country gaining energy independence.
The U.S. now has 131 ethanol plants in production, 72 plants under construction and 10 more expanding, which combined, will produce 13.5 billion gallons of ethanol. Yet, the U.S. uses 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year.
"Clearly, grain-based ethanol production will be here for years to come," White says.