In America’s Midwest, corn is still king — and legislators and farmers are urging the federal government to expand ethanol-based corn gas prices and continue to hit record highs.
“I think it’s a win-win-win situation,” Illinois corn farmer Brian Duncan told Grady Trimble of FOX Business. “It’s a win for agriculture, it’s a win for the environment and a win for America.”
Under the Home Front Energy Independence Act, ethanol fuel E15 would be produced and sold year-round in the US rather than just during the summer months. The proposal aims to further reduce dependence on Russian oil exports during the war with Ukraine.
Two-part lawmakers supporting the bill include Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kansas.
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While E15 can be between 5 and 10 cents cheaper than regular unleaded natural gas, the American Petroleum Institute has backed off using E15 ethanol, claiming it emits more greenhouse gases and uses fewer miles per gallon than the comparable E10 fuel.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the production of ethanol from corn led to a decrease in water quality and caused additive emissions from the production processes.
Researchers further said that the combined sum of emissions from corn-based ethanol could be 24% more than the fuel they were supposed to replace.
“I think they’re dealing with a lot of outdated information to protect their market share,” Duncan objected.
Farmers like Duncan believe that ethanol can provide oil in emergency situations, pointing out that the purpose of the crop goes beyond food consumption.
“In terms of food versus fuel, I think American farmers have the capacity to serve both markets,” he said. “It’s not either-or.”
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According to Duncan, it remains cheaper to make, use and buy ethanol fuel, despite a rise in global corn prices.
“The market has been very volatile, but ethanol has been about $1 a gallon cheaper for pure ethanol than gas,” the corn farmer explained. “And that reduces the price of the end product if you can mix that in.”
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Andrew Wulbeck of FOX Weather contributed to this report.