Solution to Today's Energy Crisis is Here Today

By Tom Buis | April 11, 2012

The driving season is upon us, and Americans across the country are again feeling the pain of skyrocketing gas prices. Whether it is going to work, school or a well-earned vacation, out-of-control gas prices have a tremendous economic impact on our nation’s motorists and our economy. Unfortunately, this time of year also brings us what is fast becoming an unwelcome American tradition—digging even deeper into family finances to pay for filling the tank with record-priced gasoline. Gas prices are well above $4 a gallon, and in some states could be more than $5 by the summer. High gas prices mean higher transportation and food costs. Yet we have the solution to high gasoline prices right under our noses, in the form of clean, renewable ethanol—an alternative fuel that delivers higher octane to motor fuel and sells at a buck less a gallon than gasoline on the commodity exchange.

By increasing blends of ethanol into motor fuel, we can reduce overall prices at the pump. Growth Energy is committed to working with all our partners in the industry, including fuel retailers, to deliver E15 to the marketplace. E15 gasoline has been approved by the EPA for all vehicles built since 2001—or more than 80 percent of the vehicles on the road today—after exhaustive, rigorous engine and emissions systems testing.

Many retailers and fuel providers are already stepping up to the plate to help lower gas prices by registering to sell E15. While there is some reluctance by retailers to offer E15, mostly as a result of scare tactics by Big Oil, we need to continue to urge the adoption of E15 all across this great nation. E15 can replace up to 7 billion gallons of gasoline, create over 130,000 jobs, improve our environment and offer savings to consumers at the pump. 

Not only does E15 save consumers at the pump, at 113 octane, ethanol presents a unique opportunity to increase engine performance with higher-octane fuels, which is an important goal as U.S. automakers manufacture more high-compression engines to increase fuel performance.

Growth Energy has already begun the effort to open the fuels market and give Americans the fuel choice they deserve. In the fight for public opinion, Growth Energy’s American Ethanol partnership with NASCAR has shown fans across the country that if ethanol is good enough for NASCAR’s racecars, it’s good enough for your street cars. NASCAR made the switch to E15 and is nearing two million miles with the fuel without incident.

Ethanol is not a “someday” solution to our current energy crisis. It is here today. The American ethanol industry has extra capacity that can be used today and, with the development of cellulosic ethanol from biomass feedstocks such as corn cobs or other waste, we can produce enough ethanol right here in America to displace all of our imported oil. But as long as we allow our fuels market to remain captive to foreign oil, our nation will be continue to be exposed to oil shocks—similar to 2008—whenever Iran sends boats in the Strait of Hormuz, or oil companies reduce refining capacity, or China puts another million cars on the road. All these things are out of our control, and any one of them will mean that our nation will continue to be held captive to foreign oil. This must change.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy