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USDA study shows greenhouse gas benefits of Ethanol compared with gasoline


This news story was published on April 9, 2019.
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Golden Grain Energy in Mason City, a maker of Ethanol

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finds greenhouse gas emissions from corn-based ethanol are about 39 percent lower than gasoline. The study also states that when ethanol is refined at natural gas-powered refineries, the greenhouse gas emissions are even lower, around 43 percent below gasoline.

“These new findings provide further evidence that biofuels from America’s heartland reduce greenhouse gases even more than we thought, and that our farmers and ethanol plants continue to become more efficient and effective,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “President Trump has made it abundantly clear he is unleashing the full potential of American energy production as we retake our rightful place as the world’s leader. Expanding the sale of E15 year-round will provide consumers with more choices when they fill up at the pump, including environmentally friendly fuel with decreased emissions. I appreciate EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler moving expeditiously to finalize the E-15 rule before the start of summer driving season.”

Background:

The study, led by Dr. Jan Lewandrowski of USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, and published in the journal Biofuels, supports findings of other research that ethanol has a significantly better greenhouse gas profile than previously estimated.

The study, titled “The greenhouse gas benefits of corn ethanol—assessing recent evidence,” attributes much of these additional benefits to revised estimates of the impacts of land-use change as a result of demand for ethanol. Where previous estimates anticipated farmers bringing additional land into production as a result of increased corn prices, recent analysis finds only modest increases in crop acreage. Additional improvements at ethanol refineries, combined with on-farm conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as reduced tillage and cover crops, have further decreased emissions associated with corn ethanol. The study projects that with added improvements in refineries and on farms, a reduction of over 70 percent in lifecycle emissions is possible by 2022.

The study is available for download.

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5 Responses to USDA study shows greenhouse gas benefits of Ethanol compared with gasoline

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 11, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Of course the USDA would say this. Their jobs depend on them supporting the farmers at our expense. Ethanol drives up food cost and ruins engines.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 11, 2019 at 7:54 am

    dont care. ruins motors and gives shit gas mileage. corn is not gas.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Little bias on dept of agriculture saying roundup is ALSO not dangerous in the foods we eat. – we will see.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Pimentel back in 2002 published a so-called study which postulated that ethanol was bad for everything.

    In the following years, studies from the USDA, Iowa State, and Argonne National Labs, to name a few refuted the Pimentel paper, as it was flawed in it’s assumptions.

    U of Minnesota examined the economics of ethanol, based on the current prices of inputs such as corn and natural gas. It found that with or without a subsidy, there was a net gain in the operation of ethanol plants, especially those of a larger nature such as what we have here at Golden Grain.

    Finally, as I have pointed out before, the investment of many millions of dollars in rural areas of the Mid-West was unheard of in that period of time (1999-2005). From the plants themselves, to the infrastructure needed to move product. Many of the plants were originally financed with local money.

    Ethanol was, and still is good for us in the rural areas of Iowa.

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    You mean the oil industry has been lying. Remember when food prices increased because of ethoanl production another big oil lie. Some times it take awhile for the truth to come out, but it usually does. The ethonal industry has benefited the agriculture states plus most plants allowed local investment so the profits stay here.